19 Jun Alumni Interview: Rebekah Young
Rebekah Young (pictured right) is an alumna of the Residential Internship (2011/12) and currently works as a doctor in trauma surgery at Royal Melbourne Hospital. She lives in a flat in Melbourne, Australia, with two friends, worships at Merri Creek Anglican church, and in her spare time runs a floristry side business.
These past few months have been strange the world over. In what ways have your life and daily rhythms changed?
In some ways life has changed significantly, but in many ways it is very much the same for me as it always has.
I’ve been working the whole way through the COVID lockdown period, which means I’ve had the luxury of being out of my house most days and have had lots of contact with people. Because of that, I don’t think I’ve felt the pause of lockdown quite so acutely. Very early on in the COVID pandemic, all career progression ground to a halt for doctors. I had just submitted my application to the College of Surgeons for specialty training when the application process was called off for the year. The hospitals were eerily quiet at the start of COVID, with elective surgeries cancelled and emergency department attendances significantly reduced. As a result, the days at work weren’t busy, and there was a strange lack of things that needed to be done outside of work hours. It was a welcome change of pace and meant I had the chance to do things like cook, read novels, and sleep more, restore an outdoor furniture setting, catch up with friends online, and start making sourdough.
What are some challenges you have experienced in recent months, particularly as it relates to COVID-19, your work, your church life, and other global phenomenon?
It has been interesting working in healthcare these past few months. At the start of COVID, there was an atmosphere of anxiety around the hospital, while everyone grappled with the potential for catastrophe to ensue. Many of my colleagues were genuinely fearful and distressed when thinking through what might eventuate. The challenge for me was to try to be a person of peace who carried calm into spaces of fear and uncertainty in that time. Once the immediate threat on resources subsided, the next phase we communally went through was boredom. While the media was praising frontline workers as heroes, we were actually doing a whole lot less work than usual, and it was quite unsettling for most of us.
Another challenge was the disappointment of the year being “halted” and not knowing if anything was going to progress at all in 2020. All of my colleagues were in a similar boat with exams, interviews, applications, and overseas fellowships put on hold.
What are some opportunities you’ve encountered, and what are you hopeful for in your work, life, and church community?
Where do I even begin? I’ve felt so much hope over these past few months. This hope has stemmed from a deep trust that God is sovereign, and that through all circumstances he works to draw us into relationship with himself. His plans are never thwarted by our external circumstances, even when we feel like everything has been thrown into chaos. I have felt immensely hopeful to be reminded again that as our external securities are stripped away God is always a solid rock and a sure foundation.
I have found people are very open to discuss faith during this season, and I’m constantly surprised by the conversations that happen in the operating theatre and the trauma bay and in the wee hours of the morning on night shift.
With everyone having a little more free time, I have started meeting weekly with a group of friends from around Australia to study Hebrews together, which has been so rich and wonderful. We’ve had dinner together over Zoom, prayed, laughed, searched scriptures, and supported and encouraged each other.
I’ve also had the opportunity to look at further study. In light of travel restrictions, there have been lots more online options emerging that make further study more feasible for me. I’m just about to start a Masters of Global Health Challenges through the University of Edinburgh!
What passages of Scripture have you found helpful and encouraging?
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.”
Lamentations 3:21-25 (MSG)
“But there’s one thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope. God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great is your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks.”
What’s your favourite podcast, movie, and book?
Westside Church podcast
This is a church in Vancouver that one of my best friends used to attend. Their podcast has been a lifeline for well over a year now and has continued to spur me to love God more deeply and seek him more earnestly.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
This has been my absolute favourite book in recent times. It is all kinds of delightful–beautifully written, generous to its characters, and rather relevant for this season of lockdown. I couldn’t put it down.
I must admit, I’m not a huge movie watcher. I did finally get through all of Brooklyn 99, however, and laughed more than I care to admit.