I remember the very first time I held a brain. Yes, a real brain.
I was a freshman in college, second semester, in my Anatomy Lab. While everyone else was working on learning the muscles, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a brain and wandered there to it. I sat there and stared. I remember thinking two things:
- This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I know I’m in the right field.
- HOLY SHIT!!!!
This little organ sitting my hand was everything. It was everything this man learned, experienced, loved, knew. It was someone’s whole entire life sitting there in my hands.
It’s hard to comprehend, hard to wrap your head around.
Everything we do, everything we see, everything we think, throughout our entire lives, is all in this tiny three-pound mesh.
So many things rushed through my own brain as I sat there and looked. How does this even work? How is this thing able to do all that? I can sit in lectures all day long and learn about it, but when it’s sitting there in your hand, it’s hard to believe all the power that it really has. Because it does, it has all the power, yet it just looks like an ordinary piece of nothing.
It got me thinking, “What’s sitting there in my brain?” What will people think when they put mine in their hands? What kind of stories will they come up with just by looking at it? Will they be able to comprehend it? Oh, the things my brain holds.
But holding this brain also gave me a life realization. I distinctly remember myself saying, “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.” I knew right then that I was in the right field. I want to save lives; I want to protect all the love and memories stored inside this tiny organ.
I knew then what a medical major was all about. It wasn’t just about saving a limb or fixing a cough, it was about letting these patients hold onto the love and memories for as long as they can.
But still, my mind always wandering back to the same main thought: “What is in here? What does this hold for him?” What did he experience? Who did he love? What was his favorite color? His favorite book? There’s just so much.
Sitting there in my hands, an object that looked so much like nothing, held inside, everything. It was the birth of his grandchild, it was his first true heartbreak, it was the time he laughed until he cried, the memories of him playing fetch with his dog, his wedding day, a funeral of a friend.
It was everything — just sitting there in my hands. And no matter how much I try, I don’t think that I will ever be able to truly wrap my head around the whole idea.
But when your time comes, what will yours hold? A life full of love and laughter? Or maybe, lots of regret? Do what you can with the time you have to pack as many good memories, great thoughts, and loud laughs into that tiny little three-pound organ.