All of us have faced an occasional difficulty. But so far, 2012 has delivered five different crises to Dr. Greg Sutherland.
“I’ve been thinking about it. Since January, I’ve experienced at least five deaths. Some have been physical deaths; I’ve lost people I deeply loved. One represents the end of a thirty-year relationship. One represents my approaching retirement from clinical practice. Though I plan to be in the office for quite a while yet, I'm beginning to see that I won’t work here full-time forever.”
Another death, a physical death, occurred only weeks ago.
“The problem with crisis is that you usually don’t have time to think about it ahead of time,” Greg said in a recent interview. “You simply have to hold on, knowing that it will eventually pass. It isn’t ‘if’ it will end, it’s ‘when’ it ends.”
Though he’s experienced a difficult year, Greg has gathered some treasures along the way. “In every death I’ve experienced a kind of resurrection,” he says. Greg has watched as people take on new and more important roles in the face of tragedy. “My son-in-law became a spiritual leader in a whole new way as his father was dying. He took the night shift with his father, praying with him, holding his hand, and speaking words of comfort and encouragement even when his father could no longer respond.”
In the face of grief, Greg has seen new passions ignited. “When Jesus is involved, even the darkest moments bring new life.”
Though Dr. Greg isn’t looking for difficulty, it’s easy to see that he’s committed to hang on to Christ in the midst of them. “I refuse to let my responses be determined by what happens to me, or to those I love.” It isn’t always easy; this year, it’s been especially difficult. But as a servant of Christ, it’s the only way.
How about you? Eventually, all of us will experience calamity. A house burns. A child passes. A doctor gives a dreaded diagnosis. When you face crisis, what do you do to weather the storm? Can you share your advice?
Dr. Greg Sutherland, DDS, MS
With Bette Nordberg