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What price life

“Nobody has the right to live without paying for his existence with some service to mankind.” Those words were spoken by Dr. Leonard Gillespie at the conclusion of the internship program when Dr. James Kildare advanced from intern to staff resident at Blair Memorial Hospital. Just because they were spoken by a fictional character at a fictional location during a fictional event does not make them untrue. In fact, very similar words were spoken at our graduations, at various awards dinners, by homilists of all denominations, and by most parents at some time or other. We all owe something to someone for our existence.


If we take the fictional Dr. Gillespie’s words as a truism, we really don’t even have the right to call ourselves part of mankind if we aren’t willing to provide some service to those others who, with make up the human race with us. h us. us. us. s. . “Nobody has t, withe right to live without paying for his existence with some service to mankind.” You can start your payments by helping someone today, above and behind what you might normally do. They will appreciate it, even if it’s just more warmth, sympathy, or understanding than they might expect. And that’s not just some piece of fiction. fiction. iction. ction. tion. ion. on. n. . e with a type of built-in service. But is that all that is necessary? Do you job and you’ve paid for your existence? What of the foundry worker, the road construction flag person, the afternoon radio disc jockey? They too provide a service. Are the services they provide less noble that that of a medical doctor? Do they owe less than one who tutored under the auspices of the great, but fictional Dr. Gillespie.


Those who know the stories of Dr.Kildare know that Dr. Gillespie was an “above and beyond” character, never satisfied with just “good enough.” He may not have been referring to the interns’ new roles as full fledged physicians, but that service goes beyond what you do day to day. There is a common saying among professional organizations that participation in a professional organization is the dues one pays to be member of the profession. The thinking is that what you do in your job makes you a doctor, a nurse, or a teacher, but what you do outside the job, volunteering to be a mentor, presenting new ways to practice, or providing peer to peer support, is what makes you a professional doctor, professional nurse, or professional teacher. The extra acts are their acts of service.


We can extrapolate that logic to everybody – every worker, every colleague, every parent, every friend has a job to do as worker, colleague, parent, or friend. Service in those jobs is what happens when one goes above and beyond the everyday. To be a parent and a role model. To be a colleague and a partner. To be a worker and a leader. To be a friend who gives unconditionally.


Service can be defined as the act that helps another person, the action of helping and doing. It is an action, not a thought, not an intention. It is a cognizant attempt to reach out and do for somebody, and to do it above and beyond what is expected. But it doesn’t have to be an extraordinary effort, or even particularly difficult. Revisiting Hippocrates’ words, young medical doctors also vow to remember that “warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.” You don’t have to have served under the formidable Leonard Gillespie to pull off “warmth, sympathy, and understanding.”


If we take the fictional Dr. Gillespie’s words as a truism, we really don’t even have the right to call ourselves part of mankind if we aren’t willing to provide some service to those others who with us make up the human race. “Nobody has the right to live without paying for his existence with some service to mankind.” You can start your payments by helping someone today, above and behind what you might normally do. They will appreciate it, even if it’s just more warmth, sympathy, or understanding than they might expect. And that’s not just some piece of fiction.



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We can never go wrong by treating other people as better than ourselves. Thanks for this encouragement.

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Thank you for comment Dayle. You are very true, you can’t go wrong treating others better than we do ourselves. It’s hard to argue with kindness. And it was very kind of it to stop by and add your thoughts. Thank you again!

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