A clergyman. reflecting on his experience when he was sick with pneumonia told how he had shrunk away from the healthy doctors towering over him. They were strong and he was weak. They were full of energy, and he was too tired to tum over. They were confident, optimistic even, but he was lost in fear and trembling. Weakness and pessimism are emotions that physicians rarely consider. Optimists by nature, victors in education and training, sworn enemies of death, physicians prefer the triumphs of Handel's Messiah to the sorrows of Mahler's Kindertotenliede. Physicians strive for empathy, but prefer the isolation of equanimity; they want to feel compassion, but their training wrings it out of them.