Paint Me Green and Call Me Gumby

“Paint me green and call me Gumby” –  this is one of my favorite lines from a television show. I can’t even remember the name of the show, but a young man has a cousin (from a foreign country) come and live with him, and the show was mostly about the culture differences between the two. But this was the foreign cousin’s response to a question regarding a change in plans. It was a colorful way of saying he was flexible.

Former US President John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life.  And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.”  But, indeed, history repeats itself, because human beings are human beings, now and forever.  Human behavior, in general, does not change overmuch.  Individuals can and do change, but as a collective, humans are designed to operate a certain way and no amount of genetic engineering can alter that.

But as a species, the one thing we excel at is adapting to change. How have we managed to populate even the harshest environments on planet Earth? So, as the landscape may change and we adapt or perish, we need to look to those things that will NEVER change.

I took an oath in 1999, and in that oath I confirmed that there were some things I would never do and some things I would forever do. I am determined to continue to serve my individual patient as long as I have breath. The business model I have adopted is molded about that oath and that determination. If I had set up a clinic dependent on third party payers, I might face a future where I could no longer support my oath. Our current membership-based method of serving you, our members, was felt to be the most fair and balanced method of billing for access to our services. I do not anticipate that changing. But we are prepared to face whatever challenges the free market may experience in the future.

I continue to encourage you to be prepared for events beyond your control, to the best of your ability. The most important way to prepare is to create community with like-minded folks and prepare together for what ever may ensue. You should have supplies of necessities, in case there may be transportation interruptions, and remember – it is not just food and water, but other things that you rely upon for daily living that could easily become scarce and difficult to access. (I am not necessarily referring to toilet paper, folks!) Find ways of communicating with loved ones that does not rely fully on “the grid.” If you do not have a plan, it may be time to create one.

When it comes to things that NEVER change, I know of only One. Everything else does change, but God’s love and grace is unchanging. That is the other, and most important, element of our clinics. We attempt daily to serve His people in a manner worthy of Him, which can be challenging. We hope this brings you comfort and assurance.

If any of you ever had a Gumby, there is something you know about it. While it is very flexible and can bend to a certain degree, there is a point where, if bent too far, with too much pressure, Gumby will break. Being flexible – able to adapt to small changes where needed – is NOT the same as fully changing. There are some things this liberty-loving physician cannot and will not do. If you want to know what those are, look to the oath I took and to the Word I revere.

~JPowell MD