"To Give, To Love, To Serve"
Hello, my friends.
The speaker was one I'd heard many times before, though long ago, but there was something different about this last trip to Atlanta to honor the founder and former president of my chiropractic school, Dr. Sid E. Williams, at his 80th birthday celebration.
So much time has passed now that I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure it was on Thursday mornings that we were required to attend student assembly and hear "Dr. Sid" expound for hour after hour on the unchanging, time-worn themes that had made him a living legend, certainly one of the most recognized names in the profession, loved by thousands, perhaps disliked by just as many, but respected, no doubt, by even those who disagreed with him.
It was the "chiropractic philosophy" that led me to drop my pre-law studies and enroll at Logan College in St. Louis in the fall of 1974, and it was what I perceived to be a stronger embodiment of that philosophy at Life College in Atlanta that prompted my migration south a few months later. I loved then, and still love now, the chiropractic "Life Principle," that there lies within each person an "Innate Intelligence," and that the Power that formed us from one cell into a hundred trillion still resides within us, and is responsible for all health and all healing.
If anyone has stood firm for that philosophy, if any one individual could be credited with its survival and growth over the past 40+ years, it's Dr. Sid Williams. To him, we and the sick and suffering millions who have benefited, and will benefit, from his life's work owe more than we could ever repay. And yet, I have not honored him much, not talked about him very often since I left school in 1977. Indeed, as I told him in Atlanta two weeks ago, I didn't realize until hearing him speak again after all these years how much of what I think, say and do, came from him.
I also didn't realize how much I've forgotten, or perhaps more accurately, how much I really didn't understand at the time. In fact, it wasn't clear to me until this last trip that for all of these years, Dr. Sid has been preaching two distinct philosophies: the traditional, pure chiropractic philosophy that he got from D.D. and B.J. Palmer, the father and son who founded and developed the profession, and the philosophy of service that goes hand in hand with it. I can't tell you how many hundreds of times my fellow students and I heard him repeat his trademark mantra,
"Give for the sake of giving. Love for the sake of loving. Serve for the sake of serving."
Recently, I quietly observed the 30th anniversary of my first day in my first practice, June 11, 1978, in Woodstock, Georgia. Since that time, I've had some good years and some bad ones, some successes and some failures, some peaks and some valleys, some happy times and some not-so-happy ones. But it's just beginning to dawn on me (I'm a slow learner) how closely the oscillations of those patterns have paralleled my adherence to, or departure from, the teachings of my good old college president.
When I've focused on my own self, my own practice, and my own problems, I've struggled. When I've turned my attention outward, to the people who so desperately need to hear the chiropractic message and to receive what it can deliver, the Source of all good things has taken care of me, just as Dr. Sid always told us it would.
"Give… give… give… and you'll never be broke," I heard him say at our recent gathering in his honor. And later, when the discussion seemed to turn toward what we chiropractors like to think is our "ideal patient" (someone who understands and wants lifetime wellness care), Dr. Sid was quick to advise that we focus "on the sick people." There are, after all, several billion human beings on this planet, the great majority of whom have never received a chiropractic adjustment. And it is, after all, not about us. It's about them.
Wishing you health, happiness and peace,
Dr. Frank Bowling