Love Thy Neighbor Blog #1
I’m a husband, a father, a grandfather, uncle and friend. In my profession I was a family physician, a professor and a business investor. And on the side, I had a thing for gadgetry. In all of my roles, well, with the exception of being a gadget enthusiast, I have had the opportunity to give back, to contribute to society. And like many fortunate to make it to an older age, I am looking back and assessing my legacy. I have a lot to be proud of such as being a good husband (I got better with this one with age) and raising children that are successful in their own right and contributing members of society. I practiced medicine in underserved communities, like South Central Los Angeles. I built a hospital; I was a role model for young African American physicians in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and into the new millennium. And I taught hundreds of medical students and residents with the hopes that many would find their life’s work as I did in uplifting and giving dignity to patients that might not receive that in other aspects of their lives.
Even with these things in my life, as an octogenarian, I still want to contribute. Ironically while I spent over 60 years practicing medicine, it is now, as my body is breaking down with age, surviving multiple cancers, having diabetes and Parkinson’s, I am really in awe of how miraculous the human body is. But, that is a topic for a different blog. I can’t practice medicine as I previously did, but I can still give something. One of the great things about social media is that it can provide a platform for someone like me that still wants to play a role in society. But one of the unfortunate things about social media is that it is also a place where people spew hatred.
The discourse and rancor in our society is upsetting. Watching people even in the same communities and neighborhoods treat people unkindly. Watching people across and within gender, ethnicity, religious groups and lines tear one another down, lack compassion and often times just human decency has been the impetus for creating this blog.
In my 80 plus years, I have seen things that I thought that I would never see. The turbulent 60’s with a young President and civil rights leaders assassinated. I’ve watched in awe the promise of the country when Apollo 11 astronauts walked on the moon and when the country elected the first black president; these are at the top of that list.
Last month, less than 10 days apart we saw extremes. Watching the recent white supremacist in Charlottesville marching in khakis and without hoods is on that list of things that I thought I wouldn’t see. But juxtaposed Charlottesville, there were the images in Houston during and following hurricane Harvey, which give me hope. In times of devastation, people of all walks of life pull together, help their neighbor, extend a kindness to a stranger, and show compassion. As I start this blog today, on September 11, it probably more than anything epitomizes this dichotomy that out of peril and an atrocity like 9/11, humans will bond together.
So, it is in this spirit of the best of humankind, that I have decided to start this blog, Love Thy Neighbor. My hope is that even if there are just a handful of people that are moved to comment, it was worth the effort. If it spurs a positive instead of a mean-spirited or negative act by someone, it was worth the effort. And, if we could start a movement towards more human kindness, that would be superb.
I welcome anyone reading this blog, to share and help plant the seeds of the spirit, essence and intent of Love Thy Neighbor. I will periodically share some thoughts and things that inspire me with the hopes of keeping the conversation going.