I go to work 9 to 5 and the kids slam dunk me with hugs and kisses when I come in the door limp as a dish rag at the end of the day. I envisioned my first day as a professor in the front of a classroom looking out at the bright eyes of students, but instead it is my bright eyes looking out at instructors teaching us about technology, how to make students read their assignments, how to use the library and other campus resources.
I'm sitting in chairs instead of standing at lecterns and my legs swell up like watermelons, like elephant legs, with skin dripping off them in folds. Cankles, like I used to have when my babies swelled my belly like I'd eaten a whole watermelon for dinner.
Stress is a silent river, the undercurrent of change, and my heart doesn't like stress, bucks and kicks and doesn't pump right. Anxiety is the tree falls, hazards in the stress river, where you can get hung up and drown under the current. I walk into the familiar red brick building, and all the mistakes of college come rushing back, all the times I thought they were going to kick me out because I was handicapped by my heart condition, the one that made me faint 20 or 30 times a day and sometimes made me stop breathing. I walk into the skills lab, and I remember waking up on the floor with the florid over-lipsticked lips of a professor coming at me for another mouth-to-mouth respiration, the gawking eyes of my classmates watching me be resuscitated. How could I be a nurse if I needed to be resuscitated?
I go over the waterfall of the river of stress, dragging the treefall of anxiety over with me, and I stop breathing again in the ER, and my cardiologist says yes, it's stress again, along with all these other things wrong with my very wrong body. How am I to believe I am perfectly created when I am so wrongly made, so terribly made that I stop breathing because I am stressed out by change?
There is only one answer. I remember learning always be ready to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (I Peter 3:15b) and I mulled that over for years. How could I give an answer for hope when I was constantly facing death? How could I tell my patients to have hope when they were facing death, if I couldn't give an answer for why I had hope myself?
Sometime in my 21st year, while reading Philip Yancey's Where Is God When It Hurts? I found an answer. An answer for how I could be made terribly wrongly and beautifully rightly. An answer for hope in a dying body. An answer for being willing to put my life on the line to serve the dying while I myself might be dying any day.
"The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." (1 Peter 5:10)That is my answer. In my weakness, His glory is all the more evident. In my sacrifice, His sacrifice shines through brilliantly. In my submission to the trial He has placed in front of me, His Grace is on the pedestal it deserves to be on, exalted for all to see. And all that is required of me is a small, minute measure of faith. “Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” (Yancey)
He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in Him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord! Trust in the Lord always, for in the Lord, Jehovah, is your everlasting strength. (Isaiah 26:3-4)
|Written on Lisa-Jo's prompt, "Change"|