Repay those who provide opportunities

By Vinal Van Benthem | For The Compass | September 30, 2020

About a year ago Nancy found a new doctor. Well, maybe not “new” in the usual sense of the word. But he was definitely “found.” Actually, he had been Nancy’s doctor before — until she received a notice from his practice group informing her that she must choose a new doctor. No one seemed willing or able to tell Nancy where her old doctor had gone so she assumed that he had left the area or, perhaps, was no longer practicing medicine.

Then one day Nancy and a friend were discussing doctors (as people of a certain age are wont to do). When Nancy mentioned her “lost” doctor’s name, her friend informed her that not only was her doctor not “lost,” but he was still in practice. Nancy could find his office not far from where she lived. She had not been notified of this because her doctor had entered into an agreement with his previous employer and, being an honest and ethical practitioner, had made no effort to take any of his patients with him.

I’m certain that, had Nancy not had that conversation with her friend, her doctor would have remained quite “lost” to her rather than break his prior agreement. He appreciated the fact that his previous employers had invested much time and effort in him and that it was largely because of them that he was able to open an office of his own. And while he looked forward to the prospect of being in private practice, he also respected his previous employers too much to destroy what they had planted.

Unfortunately, not everyone is so honest. We’ve all heard about employers who train and mentor their employees in good faith, believing that they will stay and produce good fruit for the company only to have them resign, leaving deleted files and empty drawers behind while taking the product of the company’s investment with them. “Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.” Who are the people who have helped us to become successful in our work? How have we chosen to repay their efforts?

Van Benthem is a longtime pastoral minister in the diocese.

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