Reverent Planfulness


This is Adam, the first child of 162 who were moved from the old Le Bonheur hospital to the new palace of healing and care topped with a huge red heart you can see for miles. Almost every story about the new hospital cites its cost–360 million or so– and that it included the largest fundraising campaign in Memphis history. But the financial story misses the point, as it usually does with pediatric healthcare. The point is the thoughtful overflowing attention to detailed planning, which rose to the level of reverence. I do not normally notice or write about that kind of reverence the raw and ragged creativity. I love emergence and flow and generativity.

But I must pause today in praise of plannfulness, detail, thoughtful anticipation of every possible thing that might go wrong so that Adam’s ride across the street might be totally smooth. That playfulness extended for months, indeed, years. So the ride was so smooth that everyone involved could enjoy it with the celebratory delight it deserved. The air vibrated with delight and pride of a job well done–and prepared for.


It was a day to wonder about what else might be possible. What if we turned ourselves to even the more complex challenges of community disorder and chaos. From the top of Le Bonheur you can see many neighborhoods in which wicked problems twist and thrive, having their deadly way with children who will never ride like Adam. The more mundane catastrophes of poverty and social brokenness have far more fluid variables difficult to anticipate and plan for. But what if we could summon the gods of generativity to work with the gods of detail? What if??????

Surely it must be possible to imagine that after seeing the miracle beneath the big Le Bonheur heart.

– Posted on the journey

About garygunderson

Vice President, Faith Health, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC. Author, Leading Causes of Life, Deeply Woven Roots, Boundary Leaders and Religion and the Heath of the Public. Secretary, Stakeholder Health (Health Systems Learning Group).
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One Response to Reverent Planfulness

  1. revbob says:

    What if we all adopted the question "what if?" as a daily spiritual discipline and applied it to our daily activities with the same kind of careful "planfulness" that Gary writes about? "What if?" indeed.

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