A year ago or so, I went in for my annual physical. Grossly overweight and with health issues getting worse by the day, I was, quite candidly a hot mess. An excellent doctor like Joe Martin whose comforting and reassuring words are sometimes far more powerful than any medicine ever could be, he was in good form that morning. As gently and compassionately as a human could ever speak truth is what Dr. Joe Martin did for me that day.
A very faithful Catholic man, Joe is a gloriously kind and compassionate person. If ever there has been a man that I would compare to how I personally picture the Our Blessed Mother, at least temperamentally, it would be this guy. He explained in his soft-spoken way, that no matter what comes next, he will work to help me be as healthy as I can be. Only because I have a rare gem like this man as my doctor was I able to hear the love of Christ in his urging to make a radical decision to lose the weight. It wasn’t something I didn’t already know, of course. There was simply something beyond truth telling going on in our conversation. I didn’t make an immediate move, but I sat with his words for quite a long time. I took them with me to prayer.
“In order to be a good doctor, a man must also have a good character. Whatever weaknesses and foibles he may have, he must love his fellow human being in the concrete and desire their good before his own.” WH Auden
Earlier this week, I returned to see Dr. Martin. Having heeded his advice, but certainly with more work to do, I was nearly 90lbs lighter and not only in body, but in spirit too. His authentic praise for the turnaround in my health was so effusive that I found it almost embarrassing. We talked quite a while about our faith and trust in the Lord and the importance of spending time with Jesus in eucharistic adoration. He told me he wants me to be the woman God has called me to be. I mean, who has a doctor like this? I’ll tell you who– only the truly blessed. Articulate, professional, compassionate and caring are the adjectives that come to mind when I think of this doctor. He’s incredibly bright, but you don’t have to be brilliant to be an excellent doctor. I’ll take a kind truth-teller who loves the Lord every day of the week, even if there might be some doc out there more innovative or with more experience…or whatever. I know I’m not alone on this one, because there is most certainly a reason why this man is not taking new patients. He’s a grace-filled and gifted doctor.
Dr. Joseph Martin, the way you live your professional life leaves me doubting not even for a moment about the sort of husband, father (of 4) and friend you must be to those who are closest to you. Those folks are incredibly blessed to have you in their lives. I am grateful to them for sharing you with those of us who come in to your office every day and soak up so much of your time and energy. You are a bright light with a beautiful, caring smile who never makes me feel like you are in a rush to get to the next patient. In you, I have certainly experienced the love of Christ. Thank you so very much for what you do each day! YOU ARE A GEM!