It took me 44 years to finally figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. In high school, everybody else was setting goals and making them happen. Not me. I was just restless. Wrapped up in my music, wrapped up in myself.
I knew I should be dreaming about SOMETHING by that point, but there was just nothing there. Seriously.
There was nothing.
Then, in the middle of my senior year, this Levi’s-wearing, free-thinking, head of curls walked into my life. That’s when the dreams started. That’s when I could start to see my future. It was with him. I wanted to take care of him. I wanted to make a family. With him.
I finally had a dream, and he was right there.
So we got married when I was 18 and he was 21.
I spent the first few years busy making our tiny, happy home. I spent my days cooking and creating, always dreaming about future babies. They were going to be amazing. Adorable and amazing. How could they not be?
Then life suddenly got tough. There would be no babies, the doctors explained. It would be just us. Always. No babies. Just us.
Dreams were crushed.
We adjusted. We held tight. We pressed on. But our tiny, happy home suddenly felt sad to me. It felt dark. Claustrophobic. I couldn’t spend my days there anymore. It just wasn’t the same anymore.
So, I spent the next five years adjusting my dreams.
It was then that I was first bit by the healthcare bug. I had no college degree but, thanks to all those years at the piano, I could type lightning fast. So I was hired by a local hospital where I spent my days typing mountains of X-ray reports. It could be pretty monotonous at times but, as I listened to the Radiologist’s words each day … through his voice … medicine began to fascinate me.
As I quietly watched from the sidelines, all my hospital coworkers became heroes in my eyes. They worked so hard … they were a team of healers. They were helping make miracles happen. I so respected this.
It was during those years that hospitals first became home to me.
And it was toward the end of those five years that I learned that doctors can sometimes be wrong. We actually had a baby coming!
And then, two years later … another!
I stopped working before our first was born and I never looked back. It wasn’t easy with only one income, but those years were absolutely magical – whether we had any money or not.
I was finally living my true dream job.
For the next twenty years, my career was raising and homeschooling our two adorable and amazing children. Then they decided to grow up on me – putting me out of a job at 44 years old.
So this was when I started thinking about what I could do with the rest of my life.
All I knew was that I had spent all those years doing the most important job in the world – being a mom. I wanted to continue making a difference in this world. I wanted to keep doing important things. But I had no clue as to how. I prayed, I asked God for guidance.
I got silence.
Then one day I opened a college catalog leftover from our son. I leafed through it, trying to find something that interested me. Anything. I came to Nursing.
If I didn’t remember that from my earlier hospital years, I sure knew it from reading the courses required for the degree. Way too hard. I’m not a science person. And, with no college experience, it would take too long. Five long years. Full-time, including summers. I was way too old for that.
I kept turning pages looking for something else.
They kept turning back.
Okay, God. I hear you.
When I told people that I was planning to pursue Nursing, many were pretty surprised. And understandably skeptical. They knew I wasn’t a science person. I had never liked school – couldn’t wait to get out.
But what they didn’t know was that I had changed inside.
They didn’t know how deeply I’d been touched by my early hospital years. I had kept that tucked close inside. But it was always there, silently calling me for years.
Like quiet, little Nursing nudges.
If I’m truly honest, I started feeling its pull a little more clearly about two years before that, when my Dad was sick – dying from biliary cancer.
It hurt to watch him hurt.
It hurt to watch everybody hurt.
It hurt to watch him fade.
I wanted so badly to help him.
I wanted so badly to help everybody.
I just wanted to know how.
Somehow … I just needed to know how.
The first time I walked through the doors of his hospital, I realized that I still naturally understood its vibe. The undercurrent there actually felt comfortable to me. Like putting on a soft, old sweater.
What I saw as they cared for my dad awoke that craving in me. Just being there actually calmed me. The environment soothed me.
Hospitals are where healing happens.
This is where miracles change lives.
So it was then I realized that, even after all those years, hospitals still felt like home to me.
It’s funny but now I feel like I’ve always been a nurse. As difficult as it was to get here – and as much as it still stresses me out at times – it really was a very natural transition for me.
I went from loving and taking care of my husband …
to loving and taking care of my babies …
and now loving and taking care of my patients.
So, it’s like landing my dream job at 18 has simply come full-circle to me finally graduating from college and becoming a nurse at age 50.
I feel like the journey has taken me around the world and back, but actually, I’m still right here, right where I began. Just wanting to love and take care of my people. Praise be.
Thanks for growing with me. ❤
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)