1.30.2006

Selfishness vs. Calling


It's amazing to me how self-absorbed we as humans can get when we find ourselves in the midst of misery. I've been so miserable it's hard to explain. It's hard to breathe. My chest hurts. I'm short of breath. My head hurts. My muscles all ache. My throat is feeling slightly better thank God (for all my complaining..... thank you prednisone!).

As is typical with me I tend to always live in denial and try to push through the pain. Living with a chronic illness (lupus) and NEVER feeling "good", I've gotten used to a new kind of "normal". I know what a normal day feels like to me, but I always wonder what it would be like if someone else were transplanted into my body for just a day and walked in my shoes. Would it be "normal" to them? Or would they say "wow, this is really miserable!". I always have suffered from the "oh, I'll be okay...." syndrome. I hate to be the center of focused attention, you know... "oh you poor baby" type of thing. I always feel like a stupid big baby. After all the sickness I see all of the time I know that there is always someone else so much worse than me. Almost like I don't have a right to be sick. So unfortunately like I said... I tend to push through the pain (emotional or physical). Well that isn't a good thing because what happens is usually a nasty downward spiral and I end up sicker because I don't give myself a timeout to heal. I have to be everything for everyone and never take time for myself. I have to go to work, be there for my kids, make sure I return that phone call or email, make sure I go to lunch if i said i would go to lunch, etc. So I think I mentioned this morning about how my friend Don reminded me that people who are most susceptible to mono tend to be the "run down" people who don't get enough rest and have run themselves ragged (which is true). And he raised one eyebrow and gave me "the look". lol I call Don "Big Daddy" because that's what he is to me. He is a protector and giver of wisdom. I love him so dearly. And as much as I hate to admit it (especially to him)...he's right. So do you think that my stupid, sick, stubborn butt learned anything? pssshhhhh, yeah right! lol At first I did. I came home, cancelled my hair appointment I had scheduled for the afternoon and decided to "cacoon" for the day. So by the evening time I'm totally beating myself up because I'd been laying here all day long. I even let myself get a whole THREE hours of sleep for crying out loud after working all night. lol So what do the really sick who need rest do when they're miserable? What else but take their four kids, Joleen, her husband and their five kids to the roller rink for skate night for two hours!!!!!!!! I'M SUCH A FREAKING GLUTTON FOR PUNISHMENT!!!! I am my own worst enemy I swear! I just kept thinking "you can't be THAT bad. You'll feel better if you get out moving around.", etc. Well, NO. I DON'T FEEL BETTER NOW! In fact I feel worse. DUH! *rolling eyes*

So now I'm home. Feet up in the recliner contemplating going to the emergency room because I feel so bad. (you know it's bad if i'm willing to go to the e.r., let alone leave my house!) It's beyond feeling like crap... I am struggling! I decided to watch the Oprah that I dvr'd from today and Anderson Cooper from CNN was on there. There was a story of little one's that were dying in another country from the drought last year. My heart broke and I started to weep. Once again I got caught by the Holy Spirit wallowing in my self and my own story. You know what? Honestly, even if I got worse and worse (I know I'm over dramatizing here) and ended up dying, yes it would be sad. I by no means want that to happen. I have babies that need me. BUT if it did. I've lived a good life. I've been comfortable. AND I'm saved. I know Jesus. If I died tonight no one would have to wonder about where I am. And I've probably even made a difference in some lives here in America. But what about the children over there? And there's still so many people who need help here too! Oh my God (literally my heart is crying out to my God)... the suffering that these little ones are going through. And they are dying right in the middle of the newscast. I'm so sad. As a mother and as a human, my heart is sick.

As I was watching the story the mother and the nurse inside of me were commiserating. Oh Lord I just want to hold those babies. Scoop them up and comfort them. Their poor mothers. I can do something to help them. I know how to do everything those nurses and doctors are doing. I know what all of those tubes are. I know how to put them in. I HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE. AND THE HEART. And that's when I heard God say "EXACTLY! BINGO!" And suddenly all of the debate I've had going on in my head lately (and on my blog) came flooding back to me..... "DO I REALLY STILL WANT TO BE A NURSE? WHAT ABOUT THE EFFECTS IT WILL HAVE ON ME???? WHAT ABOUT IF IT MAKES ME SICK???" Wow. Lord, I am so sorry. Please forgive me for being so selfish. And I hope that every person that comes across these blogs would forgive me. More people will look at me than I will ever know. I never know who I am affecting and planting seeds with. We are all examples even when we don't know that we are. We ARE being watched and studied by people who might be searching for a way to be. No, I don't feel good. But my eyes, feelings and heart need to go past my own misery. I'm always praying. For myself, for others, for the president, my pastor, etc. But that is only part of the battle. TO WHOM IS GIVEN, MUCH IS REQUIRED. And that is a mantra that I plan on repeating frequently from now on. If I ever had a desire to get a tattoo (okay let me just say.... ewww! tattoos on girls are gross! lol) I think that's what it would say. So I need to find a good balance. I've always been on the quest for "balance". I've talked about it for as long as I can remember and I'm still working on it. Being too far on either end of the spectrum (in ANY situation in your life) is not good. And so I need to find the perfect balance to take care of myself AND take care of my mission. I can't do one without the other.

Seeing those little ones on t.v. renewed my mission. It "shook my jug" as I like to say. Do I feel the need to fly to Africa? No. Not really. But it did make me see ALL of my patients in a renewed way. Suffering in general. That has always been my calling... to help those that are suffering. To bring the love of Jesus and the healing of the Holy Spirit through MY HANDS to those that are suffering. Let me tell you, it's VERY easy to become jaded and calloused in the nursing profession. Seeing sickness and pain, death and dying every single day. It didn't take cleaning many dead bodies and putting them in body bags for me to stop weeping and grieving over every single one. It's just not possible to stay that vulnerable and be able to function. But again it's about BALANCE. I've found a space to exist where I'm compassionate and love every single patient but also not SO vulnerable. Lately I've gotten a little out of balance though. My lens became unfocused, especially with being sick frequently over the last several months. So it's time to change my lens. I need to sharpen up the focus. I've been reminded that not everyone can do this job.... I am a blessed, blessed person. I'm a nurse. I've been given the PRIVILEGE of taking care of people when they are at the absolute most open and vulnerable times in theire lives! Everyone always says to me "how could you be a nurse???? Yuck! How can you handle doing the things you have to do????" But it's a matter of focus. What's the focus of that picture? Blood, puke, dirty sheets, etc. What's the focus of MY picture? "Wash their feet." And also, think about it... if tonight something happened to you.... you were in an accident and broke both of your arms and suddenly you couldn't even wipe yourself.... how humiliated would you be everytime you had to ask for help? You would be embarrassed and humbled..... and someone would have to have the heart to see past what the physical task at hand is to your heart and be willing to say "yes I will help you." That's why you don't go to college to become a nurse...... God creates a nurse in you. It's a calling. And in order to take care of my calling in a more responsible way than I do now I need to take care of myself too. So if I seem missing in action sometimes please forgive me. I know that some of you are waiting for return messages from me, cards in the mail, etc. And I have to say.... please forgive me and be patient with me. I'm not well right now and I need to get back to "good" as quickly as possible so I'm going to rest. At least I'm going to try to. After all, He's still workin on me!

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