I have described coming back to West Virginia as feeling like I am living the movie "Field of Dreams."
If you haven't had a chance to see this classic movie, it stars Kevin Cosner as Ray Kinsella, an Iowa farmer who is compelled to turn part of his farm into a baseball diamond.
"If you build it, he will come."
I think this is the calling for many of us returning home to rediscover a simpler time and get back to our roots in health and healthcare, as "Field of Dreams" does for baseball.
I think we have gotten confused by the structure of healthcare delivery that is driven by our reimbursement model.
The business of medicine.
Rescue from failure.
We charge a lot of money in seeing people with disease in our clinics and hospitals. Comparing this to taking care of your car, this is like the dealer’s service centers and garages. This approach is needed for the many sick people that live in our communities, states and country.
However, the resonating purpose of medicine is different.
How do we do this?
I think the key is getting back to our roots.
At the end of "Field of Dreams," the daughter told her dad (Costner) to build the baseball diamond and that people would come from far and near, without exactly knowing why, to return to a simpler time when baseball was part of their foundation.
The camera then pans back to seeing lines of cars coming for miles and miles to the baseball diamond.
This is a metaphor for what medicine needs.
For we have forgotten that real healing is from the inside out and that resilience and longevity depend on our human-human interactions, our environment (safety, love) and our attitude (gratitude).
Thus, to create healthy people and communities, I believe that we need to rebuild connections with each other; connections to a greater purpose and a resonant appreciation for our many gifts.
This is what the power and health-promoting benefits of social networks is about.
That connection to purpose is about our yearning to be part of a much bigger frame of creativity and that we are drawn to occupations in which we gain autonomy, mastery and purpose.
Lastly, being grateful for our gifts is critical to happiness and health. I think it is bigger than just gratitude, but also involves faith that things will work out, as we should and trust that we are all part of a much bigger, connected world with each other.
Connections, gratitude, trust and love.
Powerful human elements that will help WV realize a healthy and bright future.
A famous line in "Field of Dreams" is Joe Jackson asking Ray, "Is this Heaven?" Ray replies "No, it's Iowa."
We're in West Virginia, and that's almost heaven.