Tuesday, September 29, 2009

in spite of unknown

I have found myself happening upon books that speak life right into my current situations. Perhaps it is the Spirit's way of exemplifying this thought, expressed by my latest author-addiction, Medeleine L'Engle.
There are many times when the idea that there is a indeed a pattern seems absurd wishful thinking. Random events abound. There is much in life that seems meaningless. And then, when I can see no evidence of meaning, some glimpse is given which reveals the strange weaving of purposefulness and beauty."
The weaving has been strange. It's all culminating a little bit, but it's certainly strange. I mean how things that seemed meaningless just fall together so perfectly, but we're not allowed to see it sometimes. We're not allowed to see it until it's all put together or sometimes we see it not at all, like the saints in Hebrews 11.
There has been a lot out of my control lately. Losing control sometimes feels like danger and fear - those dreams when you're going down the highway, and suddenly your brakes go out. Sometimes it feels like freedom and exhilaration - those dreams when you're suddenly weightless and flying free. Sometimes it feels like both.
I find myself caught up right now in the idea of reading things which have already taken place, because there's an element of control about it. My thoughts have been accompanied by a good book: Two-Part Invention, an autobiography of sorts by the aforementioned author.
I think I should take note to mention something of the present: a black man is sitting two tables down from me in this huge county library. He is snoring intermittently. And that is that.
Back to the book. In the first part of two, Madeleine tells historically - her childhood and growing up times, her husband's, and their courtship. The second is being written as the story unfolds. She writes of the Unknown she is feeling now, as she writes. Part I, where Unknown had no place, is suddenly specifically more appealing to me. Isn't it true that reflection of the past is the only place where Unknown begins to fade? No, there must be some other place, but I can't think of it now. I just mean that history offers a sense of control. No, I cannot change the past, but I can deal with it, and that's real power. She says, "What one has had, as long as there is life and reason in one's body, can never be taken away." That's power. What has happened will not change. Conversely, you can't deal with something you've never seen before. You can't know if you're going to be okay after Unknown becomes Known. You can't know if you're going to be able to find peace and happiness again after Unknown becomes Known. Everything you have can be taken from you.
Oh, the answer is trust in spite of
Just trust in spite of

Friday, September 25, 2009

You're My Best Friend

Do you know that when I say "You're my best friend," I mean that there is a chute between our hearts? A thick, cylindrical channel of communion. I don't mean that you're merely a favorite acquaintance, a fun sport, or a familiar comfort like potatoes.

I have had the same best friend for a very, very long time. I held her hand sometimes, because it is, at times, the most natural thing to do. We rode home together from school or practice or the game almost everyday. Some days, we took the long way, or stopped alongside the road to prop ourselves on the hood of my car and look at the stars. It was very cold where we lived, and there wasn't much daylight during the several winter months. So usually, after practice, the stars had already come out. Once, we drove east of my house and managed to get my car stuck deep in the snow. We ran home, just shy of a mile, in our winter coats, gloves, jeans, and tennis shoes. My thighs were numb by the time we got home, but our eyes were still bright in the adventure of togetherness.

We shared thoughts with one another and considered the other's just as precious as our own. Once shared, we often pondered them in silence. We disagreed about some things, but each knew the other so well: upbringing, weaknesses, strengths, demeanor, surroundings... We could predict the differences so easily, and we could understand, and we could accept full well. It wasn't always that way, but those are the times that fill up my memory of us. Let it be written on the stone tablet of memory that way. Then, it will always remain just that way.

I've moved across the country, like I mentioned before, and she's far away from me now. I hadn't thought much about moving until the realization hit me with cold tears that I wouldn't be able to see her casually whenever we were just passing through one another's cities. When you live less than 300 miles away, you find reasons to be passing through. She was always enough of a reason to be passing through. It was a panicky feeling I felt, one of the very few pits I feel about being here instead of back home. Not that I don't like it back home, I'm just not much for staying anywhere. Going isn't much for me, really, like it is for some.

My sister, Heidi, says it's my dad's fault. He told us we could do whatever we wanted to do when we were growing up, be whatever we wanted. She says I was the only one who really believed him. She says that even though I only came six years behind her and nine years behind my brother, I grew up in a different world - a world that I believed I possessed.

Just because you're going to see the world with a new best friend doesn't mean that you don't have enough room in your heart for the old ones, doesn't mean you forget them, doesn't mean you won't take them with you. I grew up with her; I hope to grow old with him.

Would you accompany me to the edge of the sea
Let me know if you're really a dream
I love you so, so would you go with me

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Look.

Do you like it?

Pick Fickle

So I've been interviewing, like I said. Did I say that? Well, I have been. There are these two facilities. Facility #1: orthopedic position. Patients walk in, get surgery; they walk out. Their biggest complaint is surgical pain. The nurse manager talks a lot about patient satisfaction. They're competing with all the huge, metropolitan hospitals in the area. They make it a priority to please their patients, so they'll pick their facility. Everyone's job depends on it. It's the nurse manager's biggest concern, really. Like a restaurant. Interviewed three weeks ago. Still haven't gotten back to me, because they are interviewing everyone, then picking from the crop. Everyone who gets an interview is qualified. Otherwise, they wouldn't make it that far in the process. There truly aren't that many positions open nowadays - even hospitals are crimping as much as they can. So she has a lot of applicants. There is a sheet of paper that some of the employees have to fill out on each applicant. Each response has a set score. The scores are tallied, and whoever has the best score wins the job. But all the logistics about this job make it something worth considering. It's close to my family, so I could live with them. Save a lot of money. Get to be part of their lives every day. My job would be relatively easy, truly. Ortho. Yes, I am a new grad. But seriously, people, ortho? From hematology/oncology/BMT to...ortho? It's just so different. I'd have time and energy to spend on things other than my job.

Job #2 is in one of those big, metropolitan facilities, the kind I'm used to. Everything is done, because it's been researched and proven to be the best. Everything is set up so well. It's on a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU, people say PEEK you, or PQ, really). I interviewed on Friday, got a verbal offer on Tuesday. This nurse knows what she wants. She's not afraid to make a decision. Because of her diverse patient population, her biggest concern is hiring competent nurses. The children are very acute. She has to hire strong personalities, because otherwise, her nurses won't be able to correct one another and get over it. They won't be able to handle the stresses of caring for a small life, of inner-city abuse, of congenital freak anomalies, of death.

I've been listening to this audio book on decision-making. It's something at which I am absolutely terrible, especially lately. Let me tell you how bad it gets. In general, my honest priority in decision-making is the most changeable option. For example, if one option allows me to change my mind, and the other does not, guess which one I'm picking. Recently, I've discovered: that's so stupid! Seriously, I pick the option most adaptable to change above, say, the best option? Another way I make decisions is to ask others to make them for me. Another way is to wait until I no longer have a decision, because all of the other options have ceased to exist (aka: procrastination). Well, this guy on this audio book is telling me that I'm a cop-out and a coward for it. And he's dead on. I make decisions by avoiding them? He says that I'm forfeiting my God-given opportunity to make my own decisions in life.

The nurse manager for Job #1 is doing the same thing. When she told me her methods, interviewing everyone who is qualified before offering the positions, it annoyed me so much. "Just make a good decision. You're competent enough for that. You're prolonging your own agony. You have the authority to pick someone for a reason." Should I really have to tell her that? Oh, it just hits too close to home. My sister said, "Katie, you have to trust yourself enough to know that the decision you make is going to be okay." Should she really have to tell me that? I am qualified to make decisions in a crunch that affect whether or not someone lives. I am trained to recognize life-threatening scenarios and do the right thing in response to them. But I can't decide how to cook the fish, what side to have, how to prepare the side... I can't decide so much that I ask someone else to do it! Seriously, kate, you can't handle fish?!

Big things, too, though. I think it all goes back to deciding to go away for college, and regretting that decision for such and such a reason. But I think I can lay that all to rest now. I made the right decision for me. To stay would have been like venous insufficiency. Blood is supposed to go, and so am I. There were difficult things. I would have saved more money. But I wouldn't be where I am now. I'm in a good place. Enough challenges to keep me interested, enough easy joys to keep me remembering that life is good. And even choosing to work at MJM instead of Bethesda, another decision I battled afterward. What it the right one? Bottom line: I made a good decision. They both would have been good. It's a fine decision that I made. It's just fine.

Anyway, for me, this decision all comes down to purpose. No, I won't save as much money. No, my life won't be as easy. Yes, there are definite sacrifices, the biggest, being further from my family. And I feel it. There will be a little grieving, starting right now. It's okay to admit that. But of the two jobs, where do I belong? I think I belong with those kids. It's never been me to pick the pillow over the hammer, and I won't start doing it now. I'm competent to make this decision. My whole life has been leading me toward this decision. And pretty soon, this decision will be a factor in leading me somewhere else in life.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Relief to the utmost.

It's just not fair that I leave whoever might happen upon this blog with "I woke up sad today" for such a long time. My life is very different nowadays. I'm a nurse now, officially. Passed my boards. Have yet to work at a real job, though. I live across the country. It feels temporary, and perhaps it is, in a slow sort of way.

Coffee shop hunting. It's going okay, but there's nothing like the Rooster yet. Perhaps you just never know what ya got till it's gone. Although, I haven't visited any on their live music nights. I think I need to do that this week.

NO SCHOOL! I saw a school bus in late August and felt that panicky, dreadful clause in my gut: "back to school". What a relief when I remembered that it isn't true. It just isn't true.

Rocking a crying baby until he falls asleep. Satisfying. Connecting with another soul.

Driving in chaos. I didn't think it could be as bad as everybody says it is. But not having a GPS is a bugger, let me tell you.

Sight-seeing. Thomas lives near DC, so we walk to monuments sometimes. We try to find skyscrapers where you can overlook the city.

Cleaning. Cooking. Baking. You should see my newly discovered mad food skills. I knew I liked it, but I didn't know I liked it a lot. I surely didn't know I was good at it. I haven't made a flop for my family yet. I don't think they understand why I'm surprised every time something tastes good. I'll let you in on it: I've never really done this before.

I'm in this relationship. We help each other with life. We have fun, even doing the dumbest things. I'm Katie as much as it's possible to be Katie around him. It's like being in a room with the TV blasting, screaming children, dishes clanging, people trying to hear one another above the uncontrollable noise. It's putting you on edge in the worst way. Then you walk outside and shut the door behind you. This friendship - it's just like it is right then. You hear something that brings the life back into your drained soul: nothing. You involuntarily breathe the relief deep into your lungs and rest for a moment. You think of God. You love Him so much. That's sort of what it's like to be with him, doing life. I'll be transparent. There are a few things I feel. Can't help it. I can't help feeling like the carpet is going to be pulled out from underneath me, like before. It's not rational, but there it is. I can't help wanting to be around him forever, but the M word still freaks me out. I suppose it's just not quite time. It might be soon. It might be a whaze off. Is that a word? Whaze? Ways. Awaze. How far is a whaze, anyway? "Oh, it's a whaze."

Speaking of being freaked out, I've been anxious lately. I think it might have something to do with everything in my life changing drastically. I have a friend who says women have a thing about control. And other people would probably say it's not a woman thing. Either way, I don't have any. It's all up in the air. I've interviewed at three places. My last choice gave me a job offer a week ago. My first choice just offered me a position yesterday. I think I will accept today or tomorrow.

So, I still don't know anyone here except my family, my boyfriend, and a couple of each of their acquaintances. But I met this guy at church who's about my age. I think next time I see him, I'm going to find out if he hangs out with people. Ha. That's right. I'm going to go up to him and say, "Sooo...do you hang out with people during the week, because I don't know any."