Let There Be Light
I have been distracted lately. The political turnings of our country have so dismayed and frightened me. I am afraid I have been guilty of a great many things of late that I profess to be against...ramblings in my brain that I try not to feed and the written and spoken word true to an attitude in myself that I fight hard to keep caged up. I feel like I have been giving in to a true example of how even the best of ideals and intentions can get turned into something ugly and destructive, and for that, I have regret. I am left with a sense that outrage is not a productive emotion, at least not for me. I have known for a long time now that my calling is not one to be played out on a public stage or in a big and hairy way. I am drawn to quieter, more personal service and that is perfect to my soul, which has had enough violence, anger and fear to last a lifetime. However, I have not been acting according to that ideal and I have, as a result, tilted my own sense of inner peace off the rails. I see it now. It will be an internal battle, but I am not going to give free reign to my outrage anymore, or at least not in that way. I apologize for stoking the fires against productivity and peace. I let myself get distracted and in doing so lost my personal ability to really have any impact at all.
The song above was one of many prayers sung at Joseph's funeral. This one is personal for me. I hear it in my head and heart on a regular basis. Finding this version of it is difficult...it isn't popular, though I think it is the most beautiful of choral arrangements for the Prayer of St. Francis I have ever heard. It at once comforts and motivates. It draws my focus to who I want to be and how I can survive in this world without losing my sacredness. Lest I sound self inflated, I think everyone is sacred inside. Every single one of us. Even Donald Trump. ;) I love that this arrangement is being sung by youth. It has an energy that is appropriate for where they are in life and it reminds me of where Joseph was when he died. There is a lot to be gained from young people and their idealism and energy is a big part of that.
I am really excited these days, as I have a new job that I will start in about a month doing Professional Development for Baylor. Basically that means I get to be part of the lives of nurses and nursing assistants, helping equip them in scope, instrumentation and information to do what they do every day. I get to help students turn into nurses and new nurses expand into competent and experienced practitioners. I get to interact with competent and experienced practitioners to learn what they need and don't have and what they have that ought to be shared. I can't imagine it gets any cooler than that, at least not in this place in time. Who knows what lies ahead, but for perhaps the first time since Joseph died, I am stepping away from this massive internal drive to become, to achieve, to prove myself. I am ready to settle into a position for many years to come and get as competent and valuable in that position as I can. I feel the kiss of idealism again and that is a really good feeling. In working for Nicholson Clinic for the past year and a half I was brought back into a safe place, where I knew the players and where I knew my skill and passion to be a given. It was a position where I have been valued and trusted, a place of contentment and emotional rest. Now I am called to get up and back on the path, and I am so excited and so ready to go back into acute care, to impact the lives of patients by impacting the lives of their caregivers. I am smiling so much, inside and out.
Lately Joe and I have been watching a program called The Sixties on Netflix. It is a wonderful multiple episode documentary outline of things that happened in that decade before I was born. There are episodes for the Seventies and Eighties coming up after the Sixties. I wept last night listening to Martin Luther King, Jr giving his I Have A Dream speech. I wept over the names of activists who died for their cause and felt the barrier that we are continuing to push against to give the marginalized a voice and a fair chance of freedom and happiness. I smiled seeing how the Beatles came to impact the world of music and the interesting ways their influence impacted musical artistry. I have been struck again and again in watching this that the world continues to grow, that change comes slow and that we are just the next generation of warriors placed to make the world a kinder, more unified place. It makes me fear the battle less.
I am comforted, oddly enough, that the upheaval of things lately is neither new nor futile. My place in this is private and small and I am returning now to that directive. It is where my peace is, where my impact is. I will be marching and protesting. I will also, however, be praying for our governmental leaders and for those who elected them. We won't get anywhere until hearts soften, so I start with my own. I will no longer utilize social media to put out messages regarding politics. I am a decent person and everyone I am friends with are decent people, each with their own fears, dreams and goals. I feel strongly we will do more to bring hearts together through prayer and service than through harsh words, rash judgments and faithless accusations. I won't feed that fire anymore.
I feel good about this. I hope you will feel good FOR me for recognizing this in myself. I am unchanged in my views, but looking at history has underlined for me that I don't have to spend my days in a cloud of righteous indignation and angry, borderline despair in order to make my ideals known or to impact our political world. That is a slippery slope to the mouth of evil and I will not be a pawn to darkness. I will strive to do it through kindness, love, a sense of hope and awareness of how blessed I am by the diversity in my world and my call to service of others. That is the person I want to be. It isn't easy to stay calm when sacred things are threatened but it is possible. It's possible and it is necessary.
I am a nurse. I serve as a way of life. I serve the marginalized and the trampled, the downtrodden and the privileged. I serve the mentally ill, the murderers, the rapists, the child molesters, the haters, the lovers, the prostitutes, the elderly, the newborn, the helpless, the husband, the housewife, the abusers, the victims. I serve neighbors and strangers. I serve Republicans and Democrats. I don't have to worry about whether someone deserves medical treatment, whether they deserve comfort or compassion. What a weight is lifted in my mind, to not have to shoulder the burden of judgement. Nursing isn't what I do. It is who I am, and I am thankful.