Brown County, Indiana
The radio silence on the blog lately isn't at all from my lack of what to say, but rather, how to say it. I've looked forward to October for many months now-- the pumpkin treats, crisp fall air, long runs, a break from all of the chaos. And in many ways, the month has been all I built it up to be, and in similar ways, it's been nothing like I hoped for at all. Isn't this how most highly anticipated events are? We build them up with longing and hope and are often disappointed by the reality of what really is. I find this to be true time after time.
The month has been busier than I expected it to be. And more challenging than I expected it to be. My professional life has been... somewhat disenchanting. Being a nurse has challenged me since the very beginning. I have long considered nursing a calling for me rather than what some people view it as-- a sweet job where you only work three days a week and have four days to play. To be completely honest, sometimes those three days feel like seven. Twelve hours feel like twenty four. Night shift makes you want to cry all the time and eat your feelings because your body hates you for working weird hours and your friends never see you because you're always at work or trying to sleep. And by the time you clock out and wipe down your shoes with bleach wipes to ward off any C. diff or MRSA you might carry home with you, it feels like you have been completely defeated.
I've been feeling this lately at work. I should have known after my first day flying solo as a new graduate RN on 3 West that my nursing career was not going to be an easy one. I was so flustered that day and had been given a difficult patient assignment that resulted in me calling two rapid responses and sending one patient to the ICU. I cried on that first day out of orientation; I cried while gathering supplies for a procedure and after realizing that it was 4PM and I wasn't going to have time for lunch that day. Had I even gone to bathroom yet that day? I couldn't remember. The day was such a blur.
My nursing career since then hasn't changed much. I don't make crying a regular habit, except when I'm with dying patients or when someone is screaming at me (with the first, I do this openly as I grieve with the family and watch their family member pass from this side of eternity onto the other. With the latter, I cry behind closed doors and don't let others know how much a patient has upset me). But every day at work, I learn and I stretch and I grow, and when I clock out after my shift, I'm defeated, yet grateful. Some days I'm not sure I ever want to come back, other days I feel like I've accomplished some small little thing and that maybe I can do it again the next day.
I suppose that's enough griping about work, but that's where my head is lately, and it seems to flavor every aspect of my life. Every day before going into work, I pray for my patients and for myself-- that I would be a safe, effective, and encouraging nurse for them. And every morning I leave work feeling like I was none of those things, resolving to try to be better next time.
And so comes the introspection, the looking inward and inspecting of what's going on inside of my mind and my heart. I've spent a lot of time lately in prayer, asking God to show me how He is using me where I am in life. I believe in the growing and stretching that comes with difficult circumstances. I know it's necessary and important, but it doesn't mean I like going through it. So I'm learning to be thankful for the growing, the stretching, the bending, the tears, and the frustration. I'm learning to give myself grace and to give other people grace, and to not let my emotions and frustrations show in my attitude. I am so grateful for coworkers who are good to me and who show me grace even when I'm snappy, stressed, and not as kind as I would like to be to them.
The growing and stretching is good. It's what causes me to reflect on everything going on around me in the midst of the chaos. It's why I am sitting at home today before going into work again tonight contemplating what I can do to be better and how I can serve those around me better based on what I've been facing lately. And it's reminding me of the Who Moved My Cheese principle. Who Moved My Cheese is a book that a lot of the Fortune 500 companies have their employees read. It seems simple, in nature; it uses an illustration of a mouse in a maze who is looking for cheese. But the cheese keeps moving, so every time the frustrated mouse thinks he's finally found it, he finds that it has been moved again.
It's supposed to cause you to reflect on change and adaptation both in the workplace and in your personal life. Do you blame the person who keeps moving your cheese (your boss, your coworkers, your parents), or do you simply adapt to the fact that the cheese has been moved and learn a new way to find it? I love this book. My dad had me read it years ago and I wish everyone could read it. It's so simple but reveals such profound truths. I'm a work in progress, trying to be ok with the ever-moving cheese in my maze and not blaming those around me who keep moving it. It's the growing and the stretching and the getting past my natural instinct to snap and point fingers that will get me through the maze. For now, I'm still floundering, wishing my cheese would stay in one place (particularly if it's Havarti cheese. Moving my Havarti cheese is nearly unforgivable, as my husband well knows. Do you party with Havarti? Name that show).
I hope that your week is off to a good start. I pray that you are growing and stretching, too, and hoping that maybe you can relate to those growing pains. I've been reading and memorizing a couple of verses lately that I'd love to share with you as you grow and stretch. They're both from Isaiah, not because I'm reading Isaiah right now but because for some reason I've come across them both at times when I was really needing them.
"And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness--secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name." -Isaiah 45:3
"And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong. And you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail." -Isaiah 58:11
Lots of love and thoughts of warm pumpkin bread coming your way, friends. And if you work with me, real pumpkin bread coming your way, in thanksgiving for loving me and being good to me despite my poor attitude and general feelings of discouragement lately.