Board Blog

This blog is written by various COS board members for the members of the society.  

blindBlind.  Alone.  Scared.  Depressed.  Helpless.  Hopeless.  Carlos lost his mother at age 5.  He lost his vision in one eye at 12 forcing him to drop out of school.  At 13 Carlos lost his father.  At 14 he went blind in his other eye and became confined to his home in a world of darkness in a tiny Haitian hut, relying on his neighbors to bring him food.  Understandably, Carlos sunk into depression and helplessness.  In a country where 90% of the population practices at least some form of Voodoo, many looked at Carlos and wondered what he or his family did to bring on such a curse. 

One day Carlos heard about the eye team from a neighbor.  He didn’t have much hope that his vision could be restored but he had nothing to lose.  As Carlos made his way to the busy clinic led by two neighbors he received the devastating news that the surgery schedule for the trip was full. He’d have to wait four months until the next trip to have surgery.  When he finally reached the front of the line, the history taker asked him if he knew about Jesus.  He said he had heard of Jesus but didn’t believe in Him since God took his parents and his vision.  What a tough life.  Who could blame him?

Carlos’s story made its way to the OR where we were asked if we might add just one more case.  Of course.  How could we not?  Carlos stumbled through the camp to the operating area.  Multiple people prayed with him in the pre-op area.  I noticed as he was helped onto the table that he put his hands together and looked up as if to say “Jesus if you’re real, help me see!”  I don’t think I have ever prayed so hard for a patient before a case.  As I stared at the white cataract through the microscope I noticed his zonular support system was compromised.  Although the case wasn’t smooth, the cataract came out and a new lens ended up in the eye.  Disappointingly, I did not see a red reflex after removing the cataract.  Was there a tumor or a retinal detachment back there?  We’d have to wait a day when the patch would be removed to find out.

 carlos team

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What does it mean to radically follow and trust God?  Are you willing to give up your business to follow him?  Are you willing to change your lifestyle and conveniences?  Are you willing to submit? 

These are questions that were addressed by Nick Sideris, the Business Development Manager of Johnson and Johnson as he shared some of his own story at the 2018 AAO COS Prayer Breakfast.

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Over this past year I have struggled more with my life as a believer. The struggle has not been in terms of my faith in Christ, but rather in my living for Christ. In short, I felt my life was out of balance and that the Spirit was telling my heart that He needed more of me, and I was in agreement- but how? What was the model for this? Then, there was also the need for accountability. Me, I need to have an accountability partner…enter the “Soul Con (Soul in Control) Challenge”. I had signed up for this earlier this summer, BUT, with the COS Annual Meeting, and Gallbladder surgery, I'm glad that it wasn't able to work out.

Soul Con’s purpose is to get our life in balance- spiritually, nutritionally and physically. The focus is not on us, but on Christ. It's not about what we can do, but what Christ can do through us. It's not about picking up our forks, it's about taking up our cross and dying to ourselves and to the world. By using prayer, devotional time, diet and exercise we learn to control our thought life and actions- discipline. If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself,and take up his cross, and follow Me. Lk 9:23

In our every day challenges and decisions we have to decide if we are going to choose Christ or the world. If our decisions are based on what makes us comfortable and happy, instead of what is expedient for the sake of the gospel, then we are selling God, our families, others and ourselves short. However, following Christ is deliberate and costly.

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Last month I completed a master certificate in healthcare management, and our first class was on the topic of leadership and character.  Our textbook for this was “Discover Your True North” by Harvard Business Professor Bill George. Excellent course.

The essence of this ‘true north’ concept surrounds how we each follow an ‘internal compass’ and the textbook interviews over 120 people, each of whom are well-established leaders. Uniformly the book leaders and author discuss the world crisis found in leadership today, which occurs when we veer away from basic sound values such as honesty, transparency, truth. The idea being that as leaders we must be willing to ‘walk the walk’ and ‘talk the talk’. Innately we all know that ‘leadership principles are values translated into action’, as stated in the textbook. The author also states ‘There is no such thing as an instant leader”.  The author and the numerous interviewed leaders are very honest about their own failings back early on, as well as later in their careers.

Being an honest authentic leader can also be studied extensively in the ‘true north’ principles found throughout scripture. We each as Christian leaders in our workplaces and homes strive to leave something lasting don’t we? How we deal with problems and people is something we do constantly, yet we also deal with moments of self-doubt as well as difficulties along the way.

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It was my birthday and a very beautiful day in south Texas.  I got off of work early and asked my 8-year old son if he wanted to go on a bike ride with me.  Excitedly, he said yes and off we went together.  Our city is full of wonderful paved bike trails that weave around and through neighborhoods, ponds, and parks.  About half way through the ride we came to an area newly developed which provided an off-trail short-cut over to a wonderful park I love to ride through.  I steered off onto the bumpy dirt trail and rode up the 100 feet or so to connect to the paved trail we would take to the park. 

When I got to the other trail I realized my son was not behind me.  He had barely gotten started into the cutoff.  He did not want to go on the ‘bumpy road’ and was upset that I would take him on something so hard for him to do.  I encouraged him to either try it or it was okay to get off and walk the bike.  Instead, he began to perseverate on why I would take him on such a tough road.   Despite multiple tries to get him to trust me (“I know you can do it”), rationalize with him (“we are almost there”), and let him watch me (“see how to do this?”), he wasn’t having it.   He was stuck.  We ended up turning around and went home…having missed the best part of the bike ride.  He walked his bike the entire way back out of stubbornness, even though the remaining path back home was perfectly smooth. 

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