Wednesday, May 6

Choose your own adventure...?

I have had a lot of patients ask me if I'm dating anybody. I've come to expect it and not really mind, as it's natural for people to be curious and want to make conversation about something other than the weather. Recently one woman asked me and I said, "No, I'm single." Usually that's follwed by "Oh, but you're so pretty!" or "oh, you'll find someone, honey!" But this lady's response has kept me thinking, even a couple months later. She asked me, "Is that by choice?" I sort of stumbled and said, "Not really..." I guess the only way that would truly be "by choice" is if I had met the love of my life and opted out, or if I decided not to date...ever. But neither of these senerios really applied, so I was forced to concede that I was single and not by choice.

Few singletons would ever utter that won't see any "empowered" women on Oprah saying that either. It sounds so it's pathetic to have so little control over your life. It seems like in our society "choice" is at the top of the list of critera for judging whether someone (especially a woman) is living a full and healthy life. Darn it, we can choose our husbands (or whether or not we have one), our careers, and whether or not we want to abort our babies. And some of that is good...I for one am grateful that I live in a culture that doesn't force women in to marriage, but I'm starting to realize that the glorification of choice as a means to self-improvement that is so widely proclaimed in American culture is obscuring what it means to be a disciple, and what it means to have true freedom in Christ. Consider this quote from Stanley Hauerwas:

“Long story short: we don’t get to make our lives up. We get to receive our lives as gifts. The story that says we should have no story except the story we chose … is a lie. To be human is to learn that we don’t get to make up our lives because we’re creatures…. Christian discipleship is about learning to receive our lives as gifts without regret.”

I feel overwhelmed by choices...where to live, where to work, what kind of nurse to be, whether I should go to grad school, who I should spend my time with, etc. This quote is freeing in some ways--we can never do all the things and be all the things and love all the people we want to, but we have to believe that God has given us our lives for a reason and He'll use us even if our lives aren't this perfect story that we had concocted in our head--whether it's about marriage, friends, career, whatever. I don't want to leave that at any simple conclusion as sometimes I do feel "adrift in the world," as my friend Joyce put it the other day. But at least it's a start.

Thursday, January 29

Rachel is thinking about status updates.

Lately I've noticed that I've been updating my status on Facebook (and looking at other peoples') more than what is probably healthy. And it got me thinking about status updates and the whole "microblogging" phenomenon...what are our motives for telling the world what we're up to?

a. I think that what I'm doing is cooler than what you're doing, and you should definitely give a crap. Or in the same category, I'm having a great time without your face!

b. I'm just a little bit miserable and I'm hoping to hear from someone who is just a little bit miserable too...after all, misery loves company.

c. I really am looking for someone to sell my microwave to! 


d. I'm looking for some connectedness in a digitalized world. 

Maybe we do just genuinely want to know what's going on with our friends and they want to know what is going on with us, but sometimes it can seem like a narcissistic exercise when people post things that only someone who is ridiculously infatuated with them would care about. In the words of Dr. Kelso (sorry, I'm on a 'Scrubs' kick): "Who has two thumbs and doesn't give a crap? ME!"

Monday, January 26

I have been praying for clarity lately (well, begging is more like it ), and over the last week some insights have finally started to trickle in.

1. I love being single and being able to do whatever I want. My friend and I are talking about maybe doing travel nursing in a year or so and the possibilities are endless. The husband can wait till I'm 30. :)

2. I just read Suprised by Hope by NT Wright and am so refreshed. The book is basically about what true Christian hope is about. It is marketed as a "what does the Bible say about life after death?" sort of deal, but what I loved most about it was how Wright emphasized that the kingdom of God is starting now, and what we do can contribute to the cause, for lack of better wording.  I guess it's a "duh" sort of realization, but it is so easy to fall into the trap of believing that your life is too small and what you do doesn't matter. I went to see Revolutionary Road last night, and Kate Winslet plays this 1950s housewife who wants to move her family to Paris because life in the suburbs is "empty and hopeless." She puts so much stake in moving to Paris becaues she thinks she'll feel more alive there, and do what she was made to do. It ends up not working out and she laments, "I was clinging to a promise that wasn't even made!" And then it occurred to me: we are living for a promise that WAS made, and for a future that has been inaugurated by the resurrection of Christ. Life is FAR from empty and hopeless. I wonder what life would be like if I could live every moment with the final resurrection and new creation in mind...

Thursday, September 25

All Grown Up...Now What?

So now that I'm all graduated from college and working, I get home from my job and think, "this is it? I went to school for four years to go to work, go back to my apartment, and recover from work watching long-winded news updates about long-winded political candidates?" Hmm. In college I had a routine, which was pretty much class homework, and more homework, and hanging out with people when we all felt like it. But I had a goal, and that was to do well in my classes and graduate.  Now that there isn't the perpetual cloud of homework hanging over my head to fill my time and the laundry list of tests on my calander, life feels a little bit...well...directionless. And for some reason, I always feel like I have to be heading somewhere.
So I sat down to think of all the potential things I could do with myself.

a.) Get a dog and find a husband

Well, not very original. 2/3 of my graduating class has done that already. And really, I don't think getting married should be a goal in and of itself; it should be something I do because I happen to find someone who I want to share my life with.

b.) Write a book

Don't have the life experience yet. Maybe I could write about being a new nurse, but frankly I don't want to think about nursing when I'm not at work. And it would either sound idealistic and sappy or cynical and unfeeling. There's always the God memoirs, but there have been a flood of those lately. And there's the little problem of never having published anything. Moving on...

c.) Apply to seminary

Then the question becomes, "which seminary?" I'm all over the ecclesiastical map. And there's the little problem of having exactly one theology class on my transcript. I love studying theology, but I don't think I have to skill to teach it, and I don't think full-time ministry would be my cup of tea either. I would get another degree, graduate with a pile of debt and have to get...a nursing job. :)

d.) Go to graduate school for nursing

Besides the fact that I think I'm going to puke if I have to write one more care plan, this might be an option down the road. I think I would like being a family nurse practitioner...more autonomy, less hospital craziness. I could work in a clinic for the underprivilaged and feel like I was helping the community.

e.) Transfer to the OR, learn surgical nursing, and then travel around with one of those charity agencies that does surgeries in foreign countries to fix cleft palletes, etc.

Could work...except that OR jobs are hard to come by because they actually have semi-normal hours and all the senior nurses want them. And I think you actually have to PAY to go on one of those mercy-ship type things. And there's the fact that I want to see the world about as much as I want to help that bad?

f.) Buy a ticket to Europe, travel around staying in youth hostals, learn another language, and we'll see if I ever come back.

Too chicken. ;)

For now it's my current option:

g.) hang around in my hometown, work a job I don't mind but don't want forever, audit a class I would rather be taking for real, hang out with friends who are mostly still in college and pretend I'm still in college, facebook fellow '08 graduates at least once a week to tell them I miss them, take a random belly-dancing class with my coworkers, watch election coverage even though it makes me want to run for the hills, and dream about doing big things...someday.

Thursday, August 28

Life, man...whew!

Well, it seems as though I haven't been a very good blogger this summer. It's not that there's not a lot to say, it's just that I've been too exhausted to come up with creative ways of saying it.

Let's see...I'm finally a real nurse...passed the boards, registered with the state of Michigan, blah, blah, blah. It's starting to sink in about how much responsibility I have, and it's making me wonder if I was in my right mind with I signed on for this. But I'm muddling through. Hopefully I can get a year or so of experience in and find a job that's more suited to my interests. Right now I work on an LTACH (long-term acute care) unit. I'm seeing a good variety of patients and learning a lot, but it's a pretty draining population to be dealing with. My people are often frustrated because they're in the hospital because of something that went wrong at another hospital, or they've been hospitalized for months. Most of them die or go to long-term care. I'd rather work in an outpatient cosmetic surgery center...give people boob jobs and make them happy! But I can't complain, really. I'm learning a lot and my coworkers have been really gracious and helpful. And then there's the patient or two that takes my hand and says, "Thank you for all you did for me." And right then it seems worth it. 

And of course there's all my theological pondering. Lately I've been going to an Eastern Orthodox church. Long story, but I was introduced through a class that I took in January. The beauty of the divine liturgy is striking, I appreciate Eastern perspective on a lot of theological issues such as the Atonement, but I am just not convinced at this point that being Orthodox would be so much better than being Christian Reformed. I miss my CRC church a lot sometimes. So I'm "auditing" Orthodox catechism since a few of my friends are going through it as well. Weird? Yep, I know. I just keep thinking...maybe I can appreciate the beauty of Orthodoxy without actually making the leap. Maybe there's something to sticking with the communion that I was baptized into, and educated in, for that matter.

In other news, my roommate and I are moving to another apartment this weekend. I feel like this makes my college to real life transition official, for some reason. 

Well, I'm going to try and get back into blogging now that I'm not studying for boards and going to EKG class. Hopefully I can post some more specific reflections on all of the above.