Wednesday, November 02, 2011


I had a little flashback just now. There I was sitting on a metal folding chair on a cement floor looking up and forward to one of our leaders. She expressed, "I think when I get to heaven, I will ask God, 'Why do You love me?'" I knew so clearly her mind at that moment, because I thought the same thing. How could God ever love me?

Now I ask myself the same question, "Why do You love me?" and the answer seems clear and simple: "I AM." It's the answer to the question I thought I would ask until I got Home when the Maker of my soul Himself spoke to me. Turns out He didn't want to waste that much time. As He pulls me out of myself little by little in His sanctifying way, I see that He loves me because He is God. He doesn't love me because I am this or that or any other thing. He loves me because He is made of the stuff. Were He to leave me inside myself, I would ask the question until the question drove me into the depths of despair. I am nothing. But now I know Him a little more. I know He is of Himself. There is no other. There isn't even me. He is love, and he cannot but love me.

Friday, July 29, 2011

While There is a Today

It's been a week worth writing about. 
A while ago, I made friends with a leukemia patient who used to be in the Marines. We talked about God, and he said he didn't want to turn God away, that it was better to be nice to God instead of bashing Him. That night, I thought about asking him, "What if God wants you to run to Him instead of just not running from Him?" I asked God for the strength to ask him, but he was gone the next day. Then I asked God to tell him Himself or make him come back. 
That was a long time ago. On Saturday, I walked into a room to fix the beeping pump, and there he was! I had time that day to hang out with him and his wife a little bit. I told him I pray for him, and that opened up a whole can of worms. I told him I had been thinking about him since the last visit - wanting to get him thinking, somehow, about being active about knowing God. Then he sure told me. He told me that God had given him two visions since our last meeting. Once, he saw great hands come down around him and cradle him. They picked him up gently off the bed and then floated him back down again. Then a voice said, "I am taking care of you." He said, "Okay. Thank You." Later, he heard God tell him, "I am going to give you a miracle." He said, "Okay, thank You." Two days later, his doctor told him that his bone marrow biopsy showed no cancer: "It's a miracle!" He said, "I know. God told me I would get one." And we were happy together.
That was Saturday. On Sunday, the nice man from church who says I am a mystic told me to write a love letter to God. He wanted to read it. He wants to love God more, and he thought maybe reading something I wrote to Him would help. On Monday, I wrote. 
I'll tell you the truth: spending time facing God with everything you are is a hard thing. It's pure honesty and nakedness. There is pain in loving God sometimes. To know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to miss Him terribly. There is a way to see life through this dark glass, and it's a sad way to live. I lived life that way for a while, and then I asked God for help - that He would send me a friend to be consolation for not being able to be with Him, to help me wait for Him. I married that friend. I told God all about that in my letter. I told Him other things, too. Mostly I'm sorry. and thank you. and I love you.
It took me a couple of days to recover, actually. Life has been deeper this week. Time doesn't mean so much and it means more all at the same time.  
That was Monday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I cared for particularly special patients, very very sick patients, patients near death. Ms T has been a favorite of mine all through her journey. Mr H was new to me. He was very sick, and his family had to make a lot of decisions yesterday about how he will die. Mr H's wife prayed all day on Wednesday. She and her family have loved God for a very long time. Another patient went from us to the ICU and was reportedly doing poorly. She is young with a horrible blood disease. She has spent a lot of time on our floor. I was told weeks ago that she would live a painful, short life and die a painful death.
That was Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, I went to visit them. I have never done that before - visiting patients on my day off, but these ones were special, and I couldn't stay away. I wanted to help Mrs H, somehow, to get to the point where she could let him go - to recognize what a blessing she would be giving him to let him go see God. After visiting her, I found out that she had gotten to that place overnight. She walks closely with Jesus. 
A long time ago, Ms T came to have plastic ureters placed into her kidneys in place of her real ones - nephrostomies, they are called. Cancer and treatment made her ureters dysfunctional. She was quite well then, comparatively. Since then, she has had multiple admissions for chemotherapy, pancytopenia, neutropenic fever, confusion. Ms T's family calls me "The A Team" and say I tell it like it is. They like that, so I am one of their favorites. She and her family are special to me. I just couldn't really stay away after hearing she had a trip to the ICU and now was back on our floor to die. 
When I saw her, I would never have known that she was any sicker. She was chipper and lucid and talkative. I asked her if she was ready. She said she wasn't, because she wanted to do so much more for other people. She talked about helping her nieces and nephews find the right paths for their lives, things they could pour themselves into and have purpose for life. She wanted to be around to help them with her resources, with her time, with her life. It is a beautiful thing when your last wish is not for you, but for those you love. We talked about thanking God for each day as a gift, doing today, the things you want to do before you die. You may not have tomorrow. I encouraged her to write letters to her nieces and nephews expressing her love and hopes while there is a today. 
That was Thursday. Today is Friday. I got a message that Ms T died this morning. There isn't today for her. Not like us, anyway. I can't wait to go to heaven. It's going to be so nice to see Jesus' face and to understand. I get heartbroken that I'm not there yet. But each day here is a gift, and He tells us that our life is short. Sometimes we hang onto that like our life-breath. Other times, it makes us sad, like right now, because Ms T and her family won't be coming to see us anymore. 
It all reminds me about this friend I have. She had cancer when she was a kid. She got a lot of chemo/radiation to her torso, so her heart and lungs are weak and show signs of being old with heart disease, lung problems, etc. even though she is in her twenties. When patients tell her, "Don't get old." She tells them, "Actually, that's my one goal in life."  I admire her, because she lives her life like everyday is a gift. I went hang gliding with her. She's been all over the world. She's gone skydiving (and likes hang gliding better). She lives her life connected to God, because there's a fact of life that's more real to her than it is to some of us. At any given moment, we could be a few more moments away from meeting our Maker. 
I just wanted to share these things with you to help you with perspective. I have a gift because of the things I see at my job to see life a little bit differently. I see life as something very close to death, not far removed from it. I see today as something transient, and I hope you can go there with me a little bit. I hope you can think: "Thank You God, for Your gift." I hope you can do and say the things you need to while there is a today. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

It is a great thing to be counted with God's own, to be part of something that's wholly bigger than I am. "He will do even greater things than these," He said; and I am counted with those about whom He said that. It's big, and it's good.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I heard someone say once - I don't remember who - that when we get to heaven, we're going to be more us than we've ever been. It means that we won't all be the same drones crying out the same tones. We're going to be even more diverse than we are now.

And can't you think with me about the beauty of every human in God's creation displaying a different facet of His glory? I'll tell you: it makes you matter as a person. No one can display that facet of Him better than you.

I am thinking about this now, because on Sunday, we are going to have a full band. Drums, bass, electric, acoustic, keys, vocals. I say in faith that there are several styles that are going to converge in unity. I have been praying about it, and I know unity is on His mind. We can't go wrong.

Oh God, let not one of us be so arrogant as to think that our vision of the music is the only right vision. As we offer up our song to You, let our breath invoke the breath of creation to magnify You in our own hearts, and in every heart that hears.

All I'm really asking is that everything we sing or play stirs up the Spirit of God to do His big work. It's not so much to ask, is it? He says it's all possible with Him.

God, come and get us as You do.

isolation and emotion

Some things help you relate with others. Some things make you feel far away from others. I think some of our deepest things make us feel far away from people, because we can't talk about them. It's not appropriate, or it leaves us too vulnerable, or it's just not quite like anyone we have access to.

One such question is on my mind tonight. How do you deal with the thought that you may have caused it? And by "it", I mean the death of another human being. You know somewhere in your head you didn't cause it. You know it was AML. But it doesn't stop the picture in your head. It stays with you.

I can't even say there's no denying it, because everyday, you walk around fine. You really are fine. But then, there are these flashes of what happened that day - the scene that summarizes the whole memory. It's PTSD, and we all have it. It must be the degree that diagnoses us. For me, it's seeing him lying on the bed all haphazard, lying on the bed not breathing. It's weird how you can be in two places at once. I can be in my car driving home, but then I'm not in my car, and then I am again.

I told the story once before. It's nice that someone can read it, and then forget they ever read it. But it's not like that about this. You forget, but something in you doesn't ever forget, and it pops up with no announcement. It's not everyday. But it's enough to make me ask the question.

Yesterday, I was thinking more about how our jobs isolate us from each other. I had a friend over, and I kept wanting to ask her about her job, but I couldn't think of anything to ask. "So, how's your desk been decorated lately?" No, bad question. "So, have you found some great new outfits to wear to work?" No. "Is your copy machine at work cool?" That one's really dumb. The truth is, I have no idea what interesting things there could be to talk about. So then I think about talking about my job. What I really want to talk about is some awesome pathophys or how human we are in life and sickness and death. But I know I should tone it down. I really try sometimes.  Like one time, somebody asked me about the grossest thing I ever saw. So I started telling some funny poop stories, and everybody was laughing. But then, I remembered a far grosser story about bile, and it might as well have hit the fan right there in that room, because it was all over.

Then again, our differences don't have to isolate us all of the time. Sometimes they make us better. I live with someone who is different from me, but when I talk about the things I experience that he doesn't, he helps me. I'm pretty eccentric in my emotional life. At least I think so until I talk to other women candidly. Just like everything else, it's all relative - and in this case, it's usually relative to our significant men. I live with someone who is a sort of emotional oak tree - slow to change and strong. I'm more like those flowers that come and go with the sun. I don't think our emotional temperament is something we can totally control, but we do have choices about our behaviors. I have a strong motivation to let my behaviors be governed by the truth of life in spite of what I am feeling. Sometimes Thomas helps me by reminding me about the truth of life when I can't feel it.

For now, I'm done trying to make myself feel less. I don't need to control my emotions. I just don't want them controlling me, and that's the real kicker. I want to teach my daughters someday. I want to say, "Dear one, I know you are feeling a lot," and I'll tell you: I really know, "but dear one, our emotions do not control us. We feel them, but they do not control us." It's truly something to be learned.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Just a short question I just asked myself

What do you think about "foreknowledge" and "plan" being used interchangeably? Maybe someone else has a thought on that.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

One Week

I watched a film that I liked. I'm not recommending it, because I like to recommend films that other people will enjoy. I'm not even sure that I enjoyed it. I just liked it, and that is all I can say.

Anyway, in it, she said, as she does so often, "Did you ever love me?" and he says, like he does so often, "Not like you deserved."

And then I read about it in Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. Listen to what he says.
"Love is not a natural response that gushes out of us unbidden. Infatuation sometimes does that - at the beginning of a relationship at least - but hate is always ready to naturally spring forth...One of the cruelest and most self-condemning remarks I've ever heard is the one that men often use when they leave their wives for another woman: 'The truth is, I've never loved you.' This is meant to be an attack on the wife - saying in effect, 'The truth is, I've never found you lovable.' But put in a Christian context, it's a confession of the man's utter failure to be a Christian... so a man who says, 'I've never loved you' is a man who is saying essentially this: 'I've never acted like a Christian.'" 
I had a CT scan yesterday for my throat. It's been hurting for a long time, so my primary ordered: CT scan, neck with IV contrast for pain with speaking/singing. They warn you that you're going to feel like you peed your pants, but it doesn't really prepare you. When they put the dye in, my whole body felt hot from the inside like they poured chicken noodle soup in my all my primary veins in a sudden sort of way.

In marriage counseling, they tell you that you can't be satisfied by a person. Your soul is hungry for nothing more shallow than a relationship with your Creator. Your spouse just isn't going to infuse your veins and make you suddenly satisfied in your core. I really don't know much about marriage, but I know that it's about love. And I know that love is about selflessness, looking at the same person everyday, knowing them more everyday, and saying, "I choose love," which is to say, "I choose life."

I know even less about divorce. I've mostly just heard of people who go through it or whose parents went through it. Lately, I have a friend who's looking at it right in the eyes. It seems like people have to get divorced because somewhere along the line, somebody looks at the same person everyday, knowing them more everyday, and says, "I choose myself," and one or both parties never recover from it. There are a lot of books out there right now that talk about reconciling your marriage by changing yourself. But there comes a point where you have to realize that there are two people in a marriage. Sometimes one of them really loves themselves...or is it "hates themselves"... so much that they can't stop thinking about themselves and their feelings. Self-centeredness and relationships don't go together like shoo bop shoo wadda wadda yippity boom da boom.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

wet, wait, and white.

I was sitting in the shower thinking about how water is the stickiest substance, how waiting on God means being conscious that He's not here yet, but knowing He will be, and how to reconcile diversity.

It sticks to everything, and we call that wet. It even sticks to itself. Sometimes you have a hair on your hand, and you can't get it off because the water is just so sticky. The trick to getting it off is to put it under a stream of water glue, and the water will stick to the hair more than it makes the hair stick to you. We clean ourselves off with water, because water sticks to everything that isn't stuck more to you. It's why our arms and legs don't go down the drain.

God says "Blessed are those who wait," and "Wait, I say, on the Lord," and things like that. We have to wait for Him because He's just not here right now. I mean, He is, but not like He will be. And we're waiting for that day. And it's a lifetime wait, and it's a daily wait. And we live like we know He's coming, like He's coming more everyday.

Reconciling diversity is harder, though. I find places where diversity isolates. And then I find places where people don't let skin make any difference, because they find ways to relate elsehow. But that's not really what I am talking about. I'm talking about diversity in a broader sense (always thinking in the broader sense). When people are just totally different. We all know those people, the ones with whom we don't even know where to start. We know them pretty well - we've been around them enough - but when it comes to relating with them, there is zero. This is the puzzle I am talking about. Is there a place where this type of diversity does not isolate?

People are friends, because they can relate about something. Do you find it amazing that God made a way to relate to us? Can you think of anyone more different than you and God? But then ..."He became flesh and dwelt among us," and then "God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God." It's the ultimate reconciliation of diversity for the sake of relationship. He became something else just so we didn't have to be isolated from Him. He simultaneously made us something else, too. Maybe it's the hint I'm looking for. Like how couples start to look alike after years and years of marriage. They become the middle of one another.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Lion and Hippocrates

I get this email in my inbox everyday about praying to God about the names he calls Himself in the Bible. Yesterday, I prayed to the Lion of Judah who protects His people and acts fiercely for His own name. I asked Him to protect me at work. It was the last day in a string of a couple weeks scattered with overtime. I was pretty tired.

Our floor is super heavy right now. A lot of our patients are very complicated. It seems like the supervisors in our hospital send us the patients who are borderline ICU patients, but only give us normal floor staffing. Our floor feels heavy. A woman came for palliative chemotherapy from an outside hospital. She had been with me for a couple of hours when severe, sudden pain had her lying in a fetal position, moaning. She had been in pain for all of our time together, and I had given a few doses of pain medication and initiated a pain pump with some relief. But right now, her pain was suddenly much more severe than before.

When something like this happens, we're wondering if it's happened before. It could be a very serious situation like a heart attack or pulmonary embolism, or it could be the pain they always feel after they eat a spicy chicken burrito. On our floor, it could also be the cancer pain they consistently feel. For example, another guy that day was complaining of chest pain. The CNA came to me and said, "He's complaining of chest pain, and I can't find his primary nurse!"

So I went in and took some vitals as the investigation began: "Has this happened to you before?" Everyone in the room was ambiguous and kept speaking another language. I tried again: "When did this pain begin?" More ambiguity. "Hey people, when...did this pain begin?"

"Ten days ago."


Inside chuckle. He's not having a heart attack.

Just like him, my patient came in with severe pain. When the ambulance dropped her off, she was sort of sprayed on the bed all perpendicular. I know the ambulance guys don't just leave patients like that. She wanted pain medication before she moved. She had been on a dilaudid pain pump at the hospital from which she came.

"Talk to me about what you're feeling. Is this pain usual for you?"
"It's the cramping feeling I always get before I throw up."
Puke bucket, check. Phenergan (an anti-emetic), check. Another dilaudid, check. 

After that, she was pretty sedated. Actually, I chose phenergan because it has a sedating effect, but she was a little too sedated. I didn't like it. She was arousable by tactile stimulation for one or two seconds. I grabbed a set of vitals. BP was fine, afebrile, but her pulse was in the 150's, and her saturation was a hair low 88-90%.

A high pulse is sometimes just an asymptomatic sinus tachycardia. Recently, the people who monitor our patients' heart rhythms called me for a pulse in the 130's. When I checked on the patient, she said quite regally, "I'm having a bowel movement."

A high pulse, however, in a sedated patient is a little unusual. I palpated her pulse. Definitely not sinus tachy, very irregular. I called the charge nurse in to be an extra set of eyes while I grabbed oxygen tubing.
"Should I call a rapid?"
"You might have to." Her sats were 84-90%. I waited another moment to see how she'd respond to oxygen. She didn't right away, so I called it. By the time the team got there, she was satting 100% on 4-6L. We had set her up on the heart monitor. That's when we found out she was in atrial fibrillation. A-fib occurs when the top chambers of the heart pump so quickly that they become ineffective. The electrical signal that makes an effective heartbeat possible only randomly, irregularly gets to ventricles, the portion of the heart that sends blood to the body and lungs. It's why her pulse was irregular when I felt it.

The resident ordered 10mg IV lopressor in doses of 5mg. The patient continued in a-fib. The next step was to transfer her to a unit where a cardizem drip could be managed. It just so happens to be a floor that does not have chemo-certified nurses, so her chemo is on hold for now.

The biggest question in my mind was my decision to give phenergan and dilaudid at nearly same time. When I mentioned the timing of my administration to my charge nurse, she said, "I don't think that was a bad call. We give those together all of the time." It's not the first time I've done it. On the other hand, it was the first time I had administered phenergan to her - which is to say that it may have been the first time she'd ever received phenergan. Next time, I'll give a half dose and wait a little longer before giving anything else. However, phenergan has no a-fib side effects. And dilaudid - well, if dilaudid was going to throw her into a-fib, it probably would've happened a long time ago. Even the ICU nurse alluded that she was probably in a-fib before I gave anything. Her puke pain may have been that severe, because it was coupled with angina.

You have to question yourself, though. It's supposed to be a given, to do no harm. But it's a question we're always asking. And it's sometimes a gray question - both at large and at small. Wikipedia told me that the original Hippocratic oath contained a promise to never cause abortion. Somewhere along the lines, we lost the obviousness of that poor decision. 

The truth is, it's not always enough to do no harm. It's not always enough to act for the benefit of the patient. It's not enough to have the best intentions. Sometimes, they'll still be in pain. They'll still go into a-fib and have to go to a floor where we can't give chemo. They'll still die, because it's the world we live in. 

In the end, we still pray to God to protect us everyday. We still look for the day when our intentions will finally meet up with the ability to carry them out. It will happen because of the one who took his intention to love us right to the cross and finished it.  We look for the day when the Lion of Judah rises up and makes His own complete. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

I talked to a friend tonight. He said he was sorry for always making everything about him. It meant a lot to me. See, I've been angry at him for a while now for never seeing me. I was there the whole time, and he saw me better than a lot of people did at that time in my life. But he never really saw me. He only saw himself.

I know we're supposed to forgive people regardless of their position toward us. And I know that forgiveness is not dependent on reconciliation, because forgiveness is one-sided the way covenant is one-sided. Reconciliation's a two-way street. But him acknowledging how he was makes a difference to me. It's forgiveness' catalyst and paves the way for the reconciliation road.

A little truth about the man I love: he has saved me. And I think the truth will flourish in all different colors as time goes on. I only know that there was a time in my life when I was a mess and ran from God, but he thought I was beautiful, and he thought it so hard that he brought it back to me - what it means to face God again, to love God and be loved by Him. T says that maybe someday I'll know how much he loves me.

I know another thing, everyday, he saves me from myself. Seeing him is respite and hope. When he comes home, I sing and dance - usually in fanfare manner. Then we tell Jesus we love Him and share a meal together. And eventually, skin on skin, we go to sleep.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My brother asked me about my job yesterday. I said I don't want to do it forever.

It's because we're short right now. We go home wondering what we missed, and we remember just before we fall asleep. Sometimes it's little, like forgetting to fill somebody's water. Sometimes it's bigger, and we make a phone call. 

Sundays really are good days at work. There aren't a thousand people in the nurse's station, and the patients are just a little bit sleepier and more content than usual. 

And now, I will tell you something big: my feet hurt, and when my husband touches them, I wish he would not stop ever. 

Can you imagine no pain? Can you? And I just wonder about it, because don't you think pain and joy are relative? I know what my feet feel like after work. And they are swollen. I think I am too young to have swollen feet at the end of the day. And so, when Thomas touches my feet, there is a vast difference. The difference is what makes me know anything. Bad/Good; I don't want to move ever/Please don't stop ever. So, what about a place where there's no contrast? There's just good. Do do you think we'll be desensitized to how great it is? I don't think so, because I think there will be different rules. But it makes you think. Maybe we will not forget what was. 

You know, so many things are relative. Like people think it's cold outside. And it is. But they are miserable because of how cold it is. And I don't think they have any right to be miserable at the cold. They don't know what it's like to have your best mittens not be warm enough or feel the wind through snowpants, or not be able to breathe because the wind chokes you. And it's only cold for such a short time here. 

Someone checked my car and said, "You need a new battery, especially for the winter." I thought that was really strange, because it's not cold here. Cars start in the winter. Maybe two days out of the year, you might have trouble. But everything will be cancelled on that day anyway. 

So the moral of the story is: we don't have anything to complain about ever. Only, we don't know it.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


Our church is still meeting in their living room. And it's a problem, because I have people who need to be there. The conversation came about with one of them, because she is a sweet girl, and she feels too old to be single. She's not, though. "I just haven't found the right guy yet." It's because she's just so sweet, and the man ought to be equally as loving as she is. And a man that's fit for her is found in no other place than stuck on God Himself. 

So I told her that I want her to meet this guy at my church. I have no idea how old he is. I want to ask him. He might not be right for her at all, but he's a real man. Last week, he told us all about how important it is to forget everything you're not doing and focus on the one thing you have the power to do. "The future you needs all of you to be where you are right now, so future you can be where you need to be then." Basically, spend your time in the place where you are. Be all there. 

Well, I'll tell you the truth: I don't care if they hit if off or not. I just want her to come to church with me and know what the men in her past have been missing. I think that she will love this place - the place that our church is going to be. 

We need a building yesterday. 

There's this woman I know who travels all over the world, and she sends me personalized updates about her adventures. She waits on the heart of God before she moves. I don't know anything about that. So this morning, I was reading about waiting on God. And a lot of it is about hoping that God has the ultimate in Himself, and that He's going to show it to you sometime, and believing it so hard that it doesn't matter when it happens. It just will. Like Hebrews 11.  

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

It's believing God outside of yourself.

I was talking with one of T's buddies last night. A table full of them, actually. All shaven heads, all ranting. But the funny thing is, they spend a lot of time talking about things that are bigger than they are. One of them said it's all foolishness to wonder what's beyond the universe. "Homosapiens are always looking for the purpose for life," and he went on to say that it shouldn't be necessary. I asked him where he sees himself in that - if he himself can stop looking for purpose. He said he spends a lot of time thinking about that. His mom and dad died before he was twenty. 

Purpose stops there. He can't see Somebody planning it that way. So there can't be Somebody. If there is, he has to hate him.  He said he can't stop looking for the answer, though, and T says that's why he'll get there. He'll find Somebody. 

I think there's another kind of waiting, though, a more daily waiting. Like waiting on God to make my iPod show up. And knowing that it's going to show up at just the perfect time. I guess maybe it's more about letting your relationship with God infiltrate your daily life. Trusting in Him all day long. 

I admit to you, I get itchy with impatience, though. My job is so fast-paced. If I have to wait for something for thirty seconds, it's usually smarter to start something else - even if it means opening a package of crackers so that I can have some calorie intake during the day. It usually means going into the supply closet to get the syringe that I'm going to need to give the med I'm waiting for. Sometimes it means filling up a bucket with ice to make my patient happy. Sometimes it means charting. What I'm saying is that waiting is time wasted at work. So when a nurse is standing behind you at the grocery store, please be gracious to her and have your money ready. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Only in Dakota

Spent so much time on this one thing, and felt so proud of it. Smiled every time I looked at it knowing she'd like it so much. Continually touching up little things, then wrapped it so carefully in Trader Joe's brown paper. Packed clothes around it in my suitcase.

Puked on the plane. Got to see my mom and my bestie from HS. Took her shopping for her wedding night. Whispered and laughed like women with secrets.

We had a nice time at the wedding. Stayed in my parent's hotel, enjoyed breakfast with them. Then, road trip together across the state. Then together with 8 little blondies, some with brown eyes, some with blue and some with hazel. Ate pizza, played games, wrapped up everybody's gifts, and wasn't there. Panic. Look everywhere, even the hopeless places. Finally hunch defeated. A phone call. No paintings at the hotel. Felt four years old and someone just popped my balloon. Felt like my ice cream just fell off the cone. Felt like someone just ate my new chapstick.

Prayed, "God, you know where my painting is. Will you please let my mom get it?"

Made another phone call, really more of a pathetic plea through tear hiccups. Transferred out of pity to the head housekeeper. Trader Joe's wrapping crinkling in the background. "Is it a painting of two little kids on the beach?"

Are you kidding me? No, actually, there was another painting wrapped in a Trader Joe's paper bag from room 320.

Breath of relief and thank you, and "What's your mom's address?" And blowing my nose. And only in Dakota.

Friday, January 07, 2011

just one psycho

Tomorrow, I am going to change the sheets and make pancakes, and I don't feel bad about it one bit. In fact, I feel really good about it. The last two days, I have barely been able to finish a thought without my phone ringing - someone demanding my attention about some "urgent" matter. "Excuse me," I'm thinking, "12 can't breathe. I'm not worried that 5 wants a shower, thank you." Or, "The doctor is on the phone for you." Really, if they could see what position I am in right now, they would not be calling me. And then physical therapy wants to tell me that they took 4 for a walk and they went this far, and the patient was still breathing. And then lab wants to know why I sent pee and didn't put it in the computer yet. And then blood bank tells me they're sending my blood, and then the ER wants to know if I got a chance to look at the report for the patient that's coming right now. And 2's family wants to know when the CT scan is and when his poor, poor (really obese) father can eat. Some people can really eat, I am telling you. Like, some people can eat 5 portions for one meal. And they still want more. I am telling you, as if you don't already know, there is no holding back for some people. They cannot move, but still, they eat. Denial at its finest.

Sometimes I just want to smack the doctor and tell him to cut me a break. "I'm wondering why the hell eight has strep in her pee! Just please quit acting like that's a stupid question!" Oh, I really wanted to clock him today. Really, it hurt my pride. Let's be honest. I have no idea why she had strep in her pee. Was it really that hard to tell me that strep pneumonia is excreted in the urine? Still foggy. Not to mention that my patient is wondering the same thing. Oh, it makes me angry. I asked him a question, and I'm not kidding you - he didn't even answer me! He must've grown up in Baltimore where that kind of behavior is appropriate. Or else he's just a doctor and thinks he can treat people like they are all idiots because they don't understand the mechanism of respiratory pneumonia being excreted in the urine without causing a urinary tract infection. Really? Don't even know where to start.

2's dying, and the son is putting on his strong face.  5 can't move because cancer broke his bones, but he keeps smiling. 15's daughter yelled at her, and her blood pressure passed 200 systolically, and that was the old fifteen. The new fifteen has Bell's palsy and mets to the liver and bone. 3's not mine, but she's fun to walk by. Short term memory loss secondary to brain cancer. Really funny lady. Her hair is always crazy. I can't remember everyone today. So many people came and went. The hospital was in status E today which means the emergency room is full, and we have to shoo people out to make room for new people. I started with six, went down to three, and came back up to five. It's a mess. My head is a mess, and that's why I took a bath. That's why I'm happy about putting sheets on the bed and making pancakes. And it's why I'm writing now. My head's too messy. I'm going to dream about giving enemas and suppositories tonight, probably to that stupid doc. And I'm going to write for it in his own chart. Hehe...

1. Dulcolax suppository BID PRN for constipation or stupidity. No lubricant, please. Pt is allergic.
2. Fleet's enema whenever pt ignores you. 
3. Encourage proper etiquette for normal human beings. Do not call with results.
4. May discharge to home when pt is nice.

and I didn't mention this, but I don't have any other plans for tomorrow. Just sheets and pancakes. Probably a good idea, eh?
It's that feeling I always have - like something's missing. It was described to me the other days in terms of Chinese medicine. Apparently, these certain people, when their qi is out of balance, they have this overwhelming sensation like something is missing..that, and grief. And when she was describing this phenomena that is so common to Chinese thinking, I felt like I was normal in the world. Only, one thing was different. The feeling was described like something was missing, but there was no ability to determine what it was.

I've always known what was missing. And it's why I've always grieved underneath it all.

From Romans 8: ...We ourselves, who have and enjoy the first-fruits of the Holy Spirit, a foretaste of the blissful things to come, grown inwardly as we wait for the redemption of our bodies from sensuality and the grave, which will reveal our adoption, our manifestation as God's sons. For in this hope, we were saved.

I've always known I was missing Him. My soul groans when I look around. I miss Him. I just miss my Friend.

There's something I've always wanted, and it's just to be lovely forever. Just to be a delight to those around me, nothing awfully self-centered, just a joy-bringer through beauty. And I've wanted it in a place where beauty is safe. Do you think it will be like that when He comes? I don't think it will matter as much what I will be like, but do you think I will be like that? I really just hope so.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


The wellspring of life keeps rolling. We're helping to start a new church. Redemption Hill Church. Right smack dab in downtown DC. There's twenty of us now, meeting in Pastor Bill's living room.

The discussions are refreshing. The relationships are underneath the surface, people willing to share themselves a little bit. And one theme keeps surfacing: that God uses imperfect people to accomplish his perfect plan. Yesterday, we talked about being missional - what it is and why we aren't. The definition: being missional means being outward about faith, not so inward. It means that we are not just asking the question, "What does this mean for me?" and "How do I apply this to my life?" but that we recognize that God's word causes a much broader stirring, that as He impacts my life, the world is impacted. Most people voiced the same thing: we aren't outward about Christ, because we don't feel like we have it together enough to pretend that we know something in front of other people.

That's just the thing, isn't it, though? People don't want to hear you say, "I've got it together," because no one can relate with that.

Anyway, somebody, I think, really hit the nail on the head. It's not something you try to do. It's something that happens as you press in to Christ. It's not a goal we achieve. It's not a Jesus T. It's natural. As God indwells us, we wear Him without intention. And I can't get enough of that phrase this week: "press in to Christ."
And I'm talking about His word, and I'm talking about His strength, and I'm talking about His abiding hand on your back. It's the daily grind that sometimes leaves you completely clouded, and it's the wellspring that washes the clouds of life away. How is it both? How is it both a discipline and a motivation? But it is.

There's a nurse at work. I thought of him when we were talking last night. (You know, it was actually two nights ago, but I know no one cares.) I always like it when he's in my patient's room, because I learn about how to coax them to get up, to eat, etc. He pushes the weakest patients forward because of his relationship with them. Isn't that just Jesus? I heard one patient say to him, "You're the reason we still have hope." Anyway, I have to ask Him about his faith. I think it's safe for me.

That's it for me, I think. I'm scared to be missional, because I don't know if it's considered appropriate at my job. It's not safe. Thomas says I just need to speak more, which is kinda funny, because we joke about how his wife never shuts up. I keep noticing different people saying little somethings about their faith, and I think I'm mostly just sitting back and watching everyone, still feeling out my environment.

I found last night to be something that helped me get up the next day, that helped me lift up my head and be glad that I am alive. Normal people who don't have pasted smiles were sitting around talking about things that matter. All admitting we're not there yet, and pressing in to Him together. Do you see it very often? It's the beginning of Redemption Hill Church. And I wish my parents could come next week.

"I'm naive enough to think that God can transform our capitol." -Pastor Bill