I was cancelled from my shift at the hospital the other day. I know, it’s a little crazy to think that nurses would actually be turned away right now when all we’re hearing about are the nonstop reports of the impending invasion of COVID-19.
But the reality is – at least on that particular day – our census had actually dropped. It seems that very few people wanted to be in the hospital just then.
So it was on my way home from receiving this unexpected gift of free time that I decided to stop by a garden center and pick up a few plants.
Well, that phrase “pick up a few plants” makes me snicker a little bit looking back now. In less than 15 minutes, my cart was absolutely overflowing with new plants. Top, bottom, even the purse-place. All full.
And, in an effort towards full disclosure, I should probably confess that my yard is already full of plants, as well. I seriously have no idea how many different types of plants I have growing out there, but there always seems to be room for more.
So, at that point, I probably should’ve put a few back. But that never happens with Debi. No, once a plant is in my buggy, it’s been decided. We’re going home together.
At the very least, I should’ve just checked out then and gone home with my new little plant babies, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I just kept walking up and down the aisles. Over and over again.
I was in there for another hour like this, pushing my ridiculously full buggy around, feeling just a little embarrassed by its massive contents, but somehow still unable to leave.
I was too restless.
I had been all geared-up to go do something important that day – like go take care of people. I had set that entire day aside for doing everything within my power to just make people feel better. Patients, colleagues, visitors. Everybody.
I just wanted them all to feel better.
I’ve always been a nurturer – my children, my career choice, as well as my overflowing garden can all attest to that fact. But I’m seriously feeling that need to care and soothe just a little more intensely lately, for obvious reasons. Just read the news to understand why.
Instead, though, there I was pacing those aisles, dreading going home to spend the day alone. So I stayed there, poking around at things, watching the early morning light shining on the plants – this beauty was like a magnet, holding me there.
But as I continued walking around in this visual peacefulness, my mind was not at rest. Not at all. It was actually swirling with fear for the future … for the world … my family … our neighbors … myself.
I mean seriously … what is God doing right now?
Well, I honestly have no idea what he’s doing with the world right now, but I do know that he was actively speaking to my heart as I pushed that buggy around that morning. And I didn’t particularly like what He was saying.
He was clearly telling me that it’s time to take a step back from bedside nursing – at least for a few weeks – to protect myself and my poor overactive immune system.
It’s funny, but ever since Lupus first crashed into my life a few years ago, people who love me have advised me to stop nursing. But I clearly felt God’s hand nudging me forward. So I pressed on in faith. And I had absolute peace about it.
This moment in the garden center, though, was the first I’d ever felt anything different. And it was clear as a bell. But it still stung just a little. I don’t want to stop. Even for just a few weeks. It made me feel useless just thinking about it.
So it was then that I rounded a corner and came upon a lady I had been noticing on the periphery. She, too, had been there for quite a while, and was also pushing around a cart full of plants.
We stopped and laughed a bit together that the rest of the world was going crazy hoarding food (and toilet paper), but there we were hoarding plants. And they weren’t even plants we could eat, if things got bad enough. They were just pretties to look at.
But they were important.
In the midst of all the ugly of this current suffering, my fellow hoarder and I were going to go home and surround ourselves with beauty to not only look at, but to also cultivate, and to share with others who may happen to also be able to see it.
I’ve written before about my love of beauty (read https://growingnursedebi.com/2018/09/14/on-idiotic-checklists-and-bullfrogs-that-just-matter/) I don’t know why God made me this way, but I truly crave beauty – of all types. And this goes much deeper than simply having pretties to look at.
It’s not that I have Pollyanna-type issues where I refuse to see things in any way except good and hopeful, I just have a very strong faith in a loving and powerful God who can create stunning beauty from the absolute sootiest of ashes.
This same God also stirred in me this need to see the beauty.
And if I can’t see it on the surface, I have to dig deep to find it.
Sometimes it’s not yet to be found, though, and I have to create my own version of beauty as I wait for his to be revealed.
But then, most importantly, I have to share it.
So as we all wait to see what’s next for us, let me encourage you. Let us encourage each other.
We don’t have to focus on the fear, my friends, all those unknowns. We can choose not to. There’s nothing we can do about any of it, anyways.
Instead we can choose to be still and listen. To dig deep and hear from God exactly what it is he wants us to learn as we wait in this season of disrupted plans. Because I can guarantee you that there’s something we’re supposed to be gleaning through all this. Nothing he does is without purpose.
Obviously we should pray for each other. For safety. Protection. Strength. Healing. Faith. Peace. Sanity.
But also we should pray for wisdom. For ourselves. Our families. Our leaders. Our neighbors.
And we should pray that God would make himself known to those who think they walk without him. You don’t, by the way. He’s right there with you through every breath you take. As I’ve said before, try inhaling without him.
One last thing to consider is to find your own something fun and beautiful right now. We need it now more than ever. Grab hold of it. Enjoy it. Relish in it. Truly cherish it.
Because whatever he created you to enjoy – whether it’s gardening, chocolate, or a lapful of squishy grandbabies – it’s a gift from God that he created for you to uniquely enjoy – something he gave you for your own particular good pleasure. And he wants you to do just that, regardless of whatever terrifying unknowns may currently surround us.
Hold fast, my friends, he’s going to get us through this.
Thanks for growing with me. ❤
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:4-9)