I have to admit, no matter how much I love being a nurse, there are just times when I really can’t get to my car fast enough after I clock out. The nonstop stress … the complicated patient care … the endless interruptions … the beeps … the perpetually ringing phones … it can truly drive me insane.
So, after surviving this past extremely busy weekend, I’m pretty tired today. I actually worked while being in a lot of pain myself, so my body is more than ready for some stillness today, and my aching head just craves an escape from that burden of seriousness that comes from a weekend of holding people’s lives in your hands.
Honestly, today I just need easy. Easy everything, actually.
So here I sit out on my porch, just slowly working my way into this beautiful morning. My mind wanders as I try to wake up and figure out how I want to spend this precious time to myself.
For some reason, though, my thoughts insist on heading backwards, not forward. Back to my patients from this past weekend, not to my day off.
I try to control it – try to will those faces away – but they just won’t go. They won’t. They’re right here with me on my porch … intently present.
Do you remember that pop song from the 1990’s “Unbreak My Heart”? A heartbroken woman wanted her lover to come back and undo all the pain he’d caused her. Honestly, the song was never one of my favorites, but I’m sure singing it in my head this morning as I write.
So I’ve been praying, asking God to help me put these patients away now – to just help me press on and enjoy my day. I only want to think easy thoughts today … no more of other people’s sadness. Their stories all burdened my yesterday, so please, God – just “Unbreak My Heart” for today.
But then God asks me why would He ever do that?
Why would He place me with a family where I literally watched the hope drain from their eyes as one-by-one, doctors came in and told them there’s nothing more they can do?
Why would He have allowed me to care for a young hardened addict who is slowly killing himself? Why would He let me get to know this patient and actually see the person behind the prisoner? Why would He let me hug his mother as she cried about her baby?
Why would He have me face that homeless person? The one who has precious few possessions, and absolutely nowhere to be? Why would He have ME see that cloud of knowing overshadow his eyes when he learned that he’d been beaten down by life yet again? Why did I have to see that, God?
Why would He show me so many people who outwardly appear functional, yet are inwardly crippled by anxiety? The ones who walk around inconsolably frightened about absolutely everything?
Seriously … why would He bother to show me all this if He just wanted me to leave it in my yesterday? What would be the point?
He shows me all this because He doesn’t want me to forget.
He wants me to be changed.
He wants me to see beyond both the stress of yesterday, as well as the ease of today.
He wants me to see the beauty in the pain, and the pain in the beauty.
He wants me to see what He sees.
He won’t let me leave all this neatly tucked away in my yesterday because He doesn’t want me to miss the lessons.
He doesn’t want to leave me in the place where I was last night at shift change. I was tired … seriously aching. The sound of all the beeps and alarms literally chased me off the unit and I just wanted to runaway from the overwhelming cacophony of tension and noises.
So, he allowed me that. For last night.
This morning, though, apparently He wants me to go back for a bit. To ponder. Remember. Absorb. Learn. Grow.
And He wants me to encourage you, my friends.
See, He wants me to share with you this place where the beauty of nursing drowns out the pressures. This is the time that God gives me to unclutter all that chaos, to reflect on Him, and remember the calling He gave me to care. That’s the foundational first requirement to being a nurse.
You have to care. If you ever stop re-centering yourself on that calling … you’ll burn out. You absolutely will.
And really, this is true no matter what you do – nobody escapes from this. We’re all called to care. Yes, we are.
So, even though it may have felt really good to run for my car at shift change last night, it feels even better this morning to remember what an immeasurable privilege it is to be able to help people through their pain.
What an honor to be an advocate, to protect not only someone’s life … but their dignity, as well.
And, as draining as all the anxieties can be at times, what a great reminder of how important it is to walk in faith.
Because, at the end of the day, it’s our powerful God that handles all of our problems, anyways, right? He’s the one who gives us the strength to not only get through our days, but to radiate His love throughout them, as well. It’s so easy to become weary and forget that sometimes.
So, now I can press forward into today. Once again, thankful. Once again, refreshed. And once again, changed. And my prayer is that you can also find the beauty in your own yesterdays, and be encouraged to keep pressing forward, too.
Thanks so much for growing with me. ❤
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)
“’Comfort, comfort my people’, says your God.” (Isaiah 40:1)