Saturday, March 26, 2011


what would have been was wheeled by me today.

by a lady in black pants, ironed clean with pointy creases. she wore click-y shoes that tap tap tapped as she wheeled that little cart down the hallways.

that little cart carrying what would have been.

that little cart carrying
belly laughs
diaper blow-outs
first crawls
first steps
first words
first day of school.

that little cart carrying
and nighttime snuggles.
and will you read me a story.
fort building
cookie baking
dress up

that little cart carrying
slobbery kisses
childhood wishes
first big game
report cards

that little cart carrying
a graduation day
a wedding day

that little cart carrying
seeds of future generations

the lady in black tap tap tapped down the hallway to the staff elevators. where she pushed the button & took what would have been downstairs.

to the place that no one talks about.

what would have been died.
yesterday, maybe the day before.
her heart just stopped beating.
no one knows why.
she was ready to be born.
her due date was tomorrow.

for all that encompasses those little people i've been spending so much time bringing into the world lately, potential was lost. and i've been chanting Psalm 139 in my head all day. because Someone, Somewhere has to make sense of all this. and has to explain, in His own time, the human disconnect between what is & little what would have been.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

losing it.

"what, you feel like you aren't happy?"

"no. no, that's not it. i just...i just feel like i've lost my JOY."

somewhere along the journey, i lost it. i must have ripped it off and thrown it in the hazardous materials can or washed it down the drain with tears or blood or aptly named hospital-goo that seems to peel off of me at the end of the day. regardless of the method, i'm feeling like i lost it.

i'm not good at losing things. i am most certainly good at getting lost. the losing part? notsomuch.

i delivered 4 babies today, 16 total on the Labor & Delivery ward--one of them was completely independent. my first one ever without an attending breathing down my shirt. sort of like a first kiss, i briefly tasted that sweet sensation & got red-in-the-face over what i was doing. i'll probably never forget it. but when it was done, it was done. i was all excited and used a superfulous number of exclamations in my text message shortly thereafter...but then it was done--the baby was out, the mama was clean & i moved on. i let the womb-miracle, first-breath, radiant-mama surround me & then swirl down the drain. i left that room-of-excitement, drudging in the fact that the Labor & Delivery floor was full--everyone around me basked in the miracles of new life &cute! new! babies!

yesterday, i came home from work to find jon graciously working in installing a new back door. the old ones let in a draft-something-horrible & it was time to invest in quality new boundaries to keep the outside outside. in my flurry of keys-on-the-table-dinner-wasn't-made-i-had-a-long-day-ness, i lost it. and somewhere in the midst of making 7 pans of shepherd's pie & welcoming our three overnight guests, the joy burned up in the oven.

and i've noticed, too, that over the course of the week, bitterness & unappreciation have welled up inside of me. i've avoided the phone. i've stayed off facebook. i quit smiling at strangers, they probably don't care anyway. i stopped enjoying the blogs that usually make me swell with inspiration. i pushed away my Bible. instead of listening to sermons or finding solice in silence or studying or staying put, i've ceased a method a restless wandering. i started taking longer showers and making bigger i'll get to it later piles and bins and boxes. most certainly, i lost it.

i'm not sure where. or why. or how, really. but all i know is that foosh! and its gone.

i chose to sit on my rump yesterday instead of working out. i chose to eat 9 (or 29) Whopper Easter Eggs instead of dusting. i chose to avoid deadlines & studying & looming to-do's.

and the laundry waits--jon feels like he's drowning in it. the dishes wait, feta & balsalmic dried like glue to the dinner plates from last night. the relational wells wait--dry, cracking, & abandoned because of my deliberate choosings. and then the sleeping waits--my eyes &brain & heart awake at the seemingly horrible choices i've made throughout the day.

should i have done something different? in that delivery? in that c-section? was it the right lab? the right medicine? the right evidence to treat--or not? did i say the right thing? at the right time? in the right way? to be politically correct? generally accepting? showing Christ's love & grace &humility? was i there at the right time? and am i the right person?

and the question marks swirl--tattooing my sleepy daydreams with canyons of unanswered questions.

those eight pounds?
that laundry?
the budget?
the garden. and canvas. and dust. and sheets. and gifts. and cards.

and suddenly the joy in the morning, in the hot showers & warm tea, couch snuggles & sleeping in--suddenly that JOY slips through the cracks. invisibly through my open grasp. and i realize, six months into 30-hour-hospital-call, that it is just gone.

I think the reason that the process of medical training is so stressful for people is because those who go into medicine in the first place usually try their hardest to do their best, no matter how difficult the circumstances. And it can be difficult for us when we feel like our best, for whatever reason, is not enough. More than the fatigue or the workload or the ridiculous life-and-death stress of working in the hospital, far and away the hardest part for me was feeling like my best was not enough. Of course, my efforts for the most part were "enough" (at least by most quantifiable metrics and some intangible ones), and though it never felt like enough,
I tried my best, then as I do now.
As we all do.
- Michelle Au, The Underwear Drawer (blog)

someday, the sun will come out. (tomorrow, tomorrow). the garden will be planted. the laundry will be done. the canvas will be painted. and someday, i'll look back &realize that this is all in the plan. these long days and longer nights, these feelings of lost &guilt of stolen joys. and someday, i'll snuggle on the couch and enjoy the hot tea & rosemary shortbread & rain on the windows &charts in my inbox. and i'll embrace the wrinkles & gray hairs that stress has painted lately. and maybe then, maybe in that someday, i'll realize that every ounce of me was poured into my days. and it will be okay. and it will be enough.

in the meantime, we just keep trying.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


It was Ash Wednesday last week. Did you know that? I forgot, conveniently, I think. I was, once again, at work. Which is where it seems I always am these days--& where I have been hanging my head, laying my head, & missing my bed for the past 7 months.

I stepped into our back yard a couple of days ago, mostly to check out the side yard & throw daydreams of a patio & new BBQ at the muddy weed patch & noticed that little sprouts had begun to emerge from their frozen cave of winter. Irises, I think. Its beginning to be spring. Did you know that?

And tonight, just a couple days after last fall when we wound the clock-hands backwards, we wind them forward again, signifying the glorious return of something past 4:30pm: daylight.

Most days this winter, I’ve been awake before the sunrise & home well after it’s tucked itself in for the night. A senior resident told me that I’d rejoice the first day I walked to my car after work & saw those last few rays of sun before the moon rocked the sky. REJOICE I did. It’s been a long winter. And a challenging one; one in which I’ve questioned why I started this journey (again), one of growth & discipline & reprimand & emotion (okay, there might have been tears) & exhaustion. And of all the things this winter has been, looking back & sweeping away the smog of bitterness that I’ve let settle in my personal bubble, I realize that it has also been good.

I read this last week.

And I wanted to shout AMEN! at the computer. Because I hope she is right. I hope it does get better. I hope the workdays get shorter & the sunlight stays longer. And I hope to spend more nights in my own bed, beside the man I love. I hope to keep liking what I’m doing, even when I’m not loving it.

I know this is a season. One where I seldom have time to write thank you notes. Or take pictures. This is a season where creativity is sacrificed for sleep, instead of the artist in me who thinks it should be the other way around. This is a season where the holidays fly, Ash Wednesday is slept away, & the thought of one more cafeteria meal makes me want to barf. A season where my jeans are tighter because of the eight pounds I’ve gained & the yoga mats downstairs aren’t showing as much wear as they should be. All in all, it’s a season of “hold on”, of “maybe next time”, & of the dreaming of the Light at the end of the tunnel.

She said I’ll look back on this time with fondness.

And you know what? I think she’s right.

For all the complaining about West Virginia I did, for all the hours I spent banging my head against the wall (literally), I really did enjoy it. It, too, was a season. Certainly not free of frustrations or disillusions, but also full of new memories, new joys, & newly discovered sustenance. I was ready to move on, as I should have been--& I did, gratefully.

And now, the tides have changed. I’m readying myself, once again, to dig in--& really, to keep digging. The long hours. The lone calls. The demanding insurance companies. The misunderstood patients. And the learning. One of these days, I’ll be ready to move on from here, too--& I will.

In the meantime, I’m taking small steps. In noticing—the new spring blooms, the cleaning Jon did while I was gone all day; in embracing—the employment challenges, the long duty hours, the hospital call nights; & in remembering—why I’m here, who I am, and Whom I belong to.

What sort of season are you facing?

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin