“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” -Fredrick Beuchner
I first heard this quote in a sermon about discovering life’s purpose that was preached several years ago by Randy Roberts, senior pastor at Loma Linda University Church. I have since taken this quote to heart and allowed it to shape my perspectives regarding my own purpose in life. For me, this quote provides an explanation for my decisions to enter the medical profession and to attend Loma Linda University. It is my hope that by reading this blog you will be able to see how each of us are called to serving humanity’s needs by utilizing the passions that God has blessed us with.
Since this is my first blog (and when I say first I really mean first because I’ve never done this before) I thought I would take some time to introduce myself a bit and talk about what made me decide to go to medical school. So sit back, relax, and get ready to take a brief trip through the life of Paige Stevens.
My history at Loma Linda University actually began before I was even born (bet you didn’t see that one coming). 34 years ago my mom moved from Florida to California to attend medical school at LLUSM. She had every intention of going back to Florida and even had a practice waiting for her there, but then she met my dad and, well, the rest is history. I was born right here at Loma Linda University Medical Center and I’ve been attending church at Loma Linda University Church since I was a babe in arms. When I was little, my sister and I would go with our mom to the hospital on early mornings before church so that she could do her morning rounds before the church service began. We watched her work and practiced our own “medicine” on our baby dolls before we knew anything about anatomy, physiology, or biochemistry. As you can imagine, these experiences played a crucial role in shaping my aspiration of attending medical school at Loma Linda University.
Despite my history being steeped richly with medical influences, before my junior high years I never really knew what I wanted to do with my life. Unlike my sister who had set her mind on being a veterinarian (more specifically Shamu’s veterinarian) at the age of 4, I really did not have a clue about what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I hit junior high, I was exposed to my first life science class and I discovered that I really enjoyed science, especially biology (thank you Mrs. Price). The first time that I became fully aware of my passion for working with children was, oddly enough, while watching a super bowl game at my friend David’s house. A big group of us had gathered to together to watch the game and I was sitting on the couch, apparently looking very bored, as the pre-game show rambled on and on. Then, they showed a segment featuring New England Patriots player Tedy Bruschi. I watched intently as this huge, intimidating football player suddenly turned into a gentle giant running down the field toward his young son who was making his way toward his daddy from the opposite end of the football field.
As the football player scooped his son up into his arms, David’s dad poked me and said, “Paige, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you look so happy.” I sat there pondering what Mr. Harris had just said and I began to realize how easy it is for me to relate to children and how much joy I experience whenever I interact with kids. It was suddenly like a light bulb had come on and I knew that I needed to find a career that would involve working with kids.
From that point on, I decided that I would pursue a career in a field that incorporated both science and working with children and the obvious choice was following in my mom’s footsteps and becoming a pediatrician. During college, this career choice was solidified as I delved deeper into the study of biology and became increasingly fascinated with the inner workings of the human body. I also began volunteering at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital in the child life department and this confirmed my passion for working with kiddos in a hospital setting. Not only did this career path align with the things hat brought me joy and gladness, it also provided me with a tremendous opportunity to serve my local community in a tangible and meaningful way. I had in fact discovered a career that combined my passions with one of the world’s needs.