it is brain surgery.

I’m not a fan of gore. Which meant that I didn’t hit [buy] when I first heard about “No Place to Hide.” It’s the story of Dr. Lee Warren, a neurosurgeon from Texas who goes to Iraq in 2004-5 and operates in the tents that make up an Air Force hospital.

Because it’s a surgeon’s view, there is a lot of detail about surgery. Brain surgery. The result of damage from IEDs and mortars, accidents and attacks. Operations on troops and translators and terrorists.

Because I have what I call a sympathetic imagination, I wasn’t anxious to read the details. But I’ve been reading Lee’s blog and listening to his podcast (and chatting with him by email). I decided that it was time to read the book.

What I didn’t expect was that from the beginning of the story my imagination would focus on the heart of the surgeon more than on the messes his hands were trying to repair.

I’ll be honest. Surgeons intimidate me. They remind me that I’m the kind of doctor that’s much easier to become. They are brilliant and confident and competent. So when Lee opens up his fears, his heartache about failure, his drivenness about his work, I had to recalibrate my thinking. I understood those struggles.

I read between the lines. I listen to the gradual shift from trusting himself to realizing how little control he had. And then there is a gradual shift to trusting God. And I think, “I want to keep growing like that.”

I think about the women and men who face wound after wound, and I do not understand how humans can survive that kind of pain. Not just the physical part, but the emotional and spiritual part.

Lee left me no place to hide. I’m grateful.

 

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

3 thoughts on “it is brain surgery.

  1. I am currently reading this book also. It gives an up close view of the grim realities of war. I could never “stomach” these realities in a movie, but can gain a better understanding for the real suffering that goes on with real people in time of war. These people are the true heros working among such evil. I’m looking forward toward the day when all war will cease! Praying for these people!

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