“The Real Work”
Dr. Mozella Williams, MD
“It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go,
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
I first read this poem, Our Real Work by Wendell Berry, sometime in late-residency. As you might imagine, the words were poignant given the many career options that were laid before me at the time, with the fear of uncertainly and misstep close at hand. Of course, eventually, I would choose a path, medical student education as it turned out, and thus began a great career I have had as a family physician.
This poem comes to mind a lot for me in times of transition such as now, facing the unfortunate and heartbreaking closure of the non-profit practice where I have worked and starting a new role with MDAFP as President. I wonder what is coming next, all the while appreciating daily patient interaction in a different and bittersweet way — the late patient less harrying to me, the door-handle-request less flustering.
And, of course, I wonder what this next year holds for our Academy, now kicking off another year after a wonderful Summer Summit in Baltimore last month! We were most pleased to host Tochi Iroku-Malize, MD, MPH MBA, FAAFP from AAFP as we installed new officers, three new board members (Aaron George, MD; Kathryn Hart, MD; Marcia Parris, MD), and four impressive FAAFP recipients. Kristin Clarke, MD, our dedicated Education Committee Chair, bade farewell at the conference conclusion, but not before curating yet another great CME event. This summer also brings some structural and leadership changes in the MDAFP Foundation. With dedication and passion, Kevin Ferentz, MD (MDAFP President, 1997-98) lead the Foundation for 3 years as President, after serving as Treasurer for 18 years. Now, he steps down as Foundation President in this time of transition, bringing the Foundation formally under the Academy.
I hope this summer brings you rest, laughter, and some great enjoyment of the outdoors. I also hope that whatever “baffled” minds that might be reading this, not knowing where to go or what to do, find their way through – to the real work.