The blue bird of happiness
Saturday October 09th 2010, 5:21 pm
Filed under: Life,Wildlife

And while I’m talking about education…

The story stuck with me and I went searching to finally share it here. The description of the new school building is here. It will provide the bridge between medical-school book-learning and actually putting that knowledge to practice on patients without freaking out in an emergency when one realizes that an actual life is depending on what you do now.

The San Jose Merc recently told the story of the man who built the place. He’d been deprived of an education growing up in China and had sorely missed it; his son was accepted  into Stanford, and the father walked around the place with his incoming freshman 28 years ago, awed by it all.

But the real reason Li Ka Shing built that new medical school building halfway across the world from his home?

On that trip with his son, he saw a beautiful blue bird. I’m guessing it was a scrub jay, by its location and the fact that it stood its ground so long, but whatever, he stopped with his camera to take its picture.

He was trying to get just the best shot; he was totally in the moment, seeing something novel and beautiful and wanting to bring it home with him on film as part of his trip where his son was going to be able to attain what he himself had never had a chance to.

And then finally he looked up and saw not one, not several, but dozens of students on their bikes, presumably on their way to their classes, whom he was blocking.  (I can guess where on campus that bottleneck might have been.)  They had noticed what he was doing and were reverencing his experience: they had stopped, waiting, fingers to lips in silence to others approaching that he might be able to get a good shot and that they might not scare the bird away from him.

Love silently expressed for a stranger’s love of nature.  A generous impulse, repeated over and over on the part of a whole nameless crowd who, like his son, had come to this place to learn.  It left a lifetime impression. He wanted to give back.

And so those who dedicate their lives to making others well will now have the biggest medical simulation facility in the world to learn in before they go work with live patients. They will have a better education, others will be taught from what they will learn, and we are all the better off for it. Having been a patient at Stanford Hospital when the alarm was sounding for me, having dealt that day with a novice doctor, that means a tremendous amount to me.

I hope they have photos of blue birds all over inside the place.

9 Comments so far
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Wow! We just never know how one moment of kindness will ripple through to help all. Thanks for sharing. I’ve read Greg Mortensen’s books as well, and find them so encouraging. Peace will prevail, when we all work together.

Comment by DebbieR 10.09.10 @ 7:14 pm

It starts my day out so well to have an image of kindness in my mind. So often I find it here on your blog. Thank you for the effort of sharing.

Comment by twinsetellen 10.10.10 @ 6:40 am

I hope so, too

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 10.10.10 @ 8:06 am

flocks and flocks of bluebird photos!

(today’s song: The Wind Beneath My Wings — the uplift from reading your blog!!)

Comment by Bev 10.10.10 @ 8:08 am

Thank you for sharing this story, and the one in the post prior.
Reading such things expands my heart.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 10.10.10 @ 9:00 am

Kindness can be expressed so many ways — a love of nature, birds (blue or otherwise), patiently waiting, and on and on.

Comment by Don Meyer 10.10.10 @ 10:31 am

What a great story! I particularly love the image of all of those students, giving him the space he needed to capture the beauty of that moment.

Comment by Jocelyn 10.10.10 @ 11:01 am

What a wonderful story, on so many levels. But especially that all those focused, rushing to the next class students chose to stop and let Mr. Li take his photo! The American story all over again!

Comment by Kathy Sue 10.10.10 @ 11:05 am

Zipeedee dodah, zipeedeeday… Mr. Blue Bird’s on my shoulder…

Comment by Channon 10.11.10 @ 7:07 am

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