Open My Heart: Wilson's Story

Friday, February 14, 2014

Northwestern Memorial Hospital has named Dr. Wilson Hartz III as a recipient of the 35th Annual Commemorative Humanitarian Award for his work with Faith In Practice.  Wilson did not inform us of this well-deserved honor, which, of course, does not surprise us.  It does, however, bring me to share a story about Wilson.

I had recently been asked what I viewed as a somewhat provocative question.  “What is your proudest accomplishment.?”  As I turned over the question and struggled with how to answer it for myself, I asked Wilson what he considered to be his ‘proudest accomplishment’.  He sat with the question for a moment or two and then answered in his unassuming and authentic way, “Well, I think my proudest accomplishment is that I finally figured out that the best way to live is to give myself away.  I’m just sorry I didn’t figure it out sooner.”  Not an ounce of pride.  Not an ounce of personal credit.  Rather he had a sense of wonder about him as he answered.  I certainly felt the wonder, the humility and gratitude in his words.  


I was particularly struck that he did not say, ‘use my skills as a surgeon’, or ‘share my gifts with others.’  He said, ‘give myself away.’  It gave a sense of abandoning yourself to something greater and fully experiencing it.  They were fitting words for Wilson, because that is exactly what he does in Guatemala.  He lets himself experience and feel it all.  He surrenders to it.  It is this authentic surrender that draws others to him as he invites them to open their hearts and experience God in this work.  Truly an accomplishment for which he should be ‘proud’.  

At the end of his interview, which you may see here, Wilson says, “It brings the most pleasure and joy in my life to be able to do this.”  Wilson, we can see it in you, the joy that it brings to your heart - - the joy you bring to others.  Congratulations on receiving this wonderful award!

Wilson Hartz, a general surgeon, has been serving and leading teams with Faith In Practice since 2007.  Each year he assumes leadership roles in two teams.  Consistently, Wilson’s heart for this mission shines through everything he does.