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...