sometimes my heart isn’t so good at telling my mouth what to say.
sometimes i just don’t have the words. today is one of those days.
this week was crazy: long days, keeping pace, go harder, study longer, hurry hurry, care more, listen better. go go go. and on wednesday i sat in chapel and listened to ann voskamp speak about gratitude. about the gifts. i was actually mad at her yesterday. mad at this challenge of naming gifts. and i’ll tell you why.
i got my first patient this week. my first “all to myself, you’re in charge of her” patient. i met with her and her mom on tuesday. she is coming to the hospital with nothing i haven’t seen before; severe depression, suicidal thoughts, ptsd from horrific trauma in the past, debilitating anxiety that often causes her panic attacks. i liked her pretty quickly, she was easy to join with and i felt like we would have a great relationship.
tuesday ended quickly. i thought about her a lot on wednesday. thursday we met again and she told me her story. and friends, it is a horrible story. a story that is not fair. i sat with it, with her and tried to take it in. a couple of hours went by and another patient came running down the hall to get me. “something’s wrong with____” he said. as i turned the corner i saw her lying in the fetal position on the ground shaking and breathing loud, sporadic breaths. she was having a massive panic attack which lasted for like 5 minutes. it was terrifying. we debriefed what happened, she stabilized and was doing a lot better. we spent the rest of the afternoon together. making collages and talking…acting like nothing had happened.
the day ended and friday quickly began. the same story of rush rush. go go. meet this need. listen to this hurt. little did i know that this day would likely change me forever.
during lunch i noticed that my patient had gotten up to go to the bathroom and had been gone for awhile (like 5 minutes). i got up and ran to the bathroom, knocked on the door to which there was no answer and found her on the bathroom floor unconscious. literally the first thing i thought was, “she’s dead.” basically for the next four hours i sat by her in the ER, holding her hand…rubbing her back as we waited out each subsequent panic attack—-to which there seemed no end. by the end of the day i felt pretty numb. in shock from an overload of adrenaline. exhausted from having to be strong when in fact all i was, was scared.
throughout the hours of watching this girl be overtaken by anxiety i struggled with god. how is this a gift? how can i take up gratitude in this moment? here? now?
i couldn’t see the gifts until today. but they were there. his grace to me in remaining calm was a gift. strength. safety. empowerment. that i found her in the bathroom before it was too late. that we live in a place where medical attention is quick.
but a harsh one yet. one that is hard to swallow. that it wasn’t me having the panic attack. that i am healthy. i am changed because a harsh, bitter reality slapped me in the face. that i am going to have to look at these kids and rationalize in my mind why i am so fortunate…and they were dealt a bad deck of cards.
i thought about ann’s chapel message. about the battles that we all are called to face. how are we to face them? how do i win the battle so that in the end i am closer to god-not further from him? oh, how will i end up victorious?
this will be my strategy for victory———gratitude. count gifts. even the hard ones. chose to see him everywhere. it’s hard. i’m not gonna lie. it’s hard to count gifts. to see him even in the panic attacks. to chose gratitude.
i live in a weird place. that i am oddly thankful for. and oddly thankful that i won’t always live here.
so a lot of people have been wondering what i am planning to do after i graduate from wheaton in may. [and by a lot of people i too am wondering.]
so here’s the kicker. i don’t know what i want to do. i don’t know where i want to go. i only have a vague idea.
i know a couple things that are tugging on my heart today:
[kids. adolescents. women in jail. inpatient hospital settings. girls with eating disorders.]
so obviously very vague.
i am making a list of all the places in south carolina, georgia, and north carolina that peak my interest. it’s getting pretty long.
going off of my post from last week i gotta focus on what i know. cause when i try to wrap my mind around all the things i don’t know i get too overwhelmed.
here is my new criteria for what’s next:
a.) I want to be able to drive home. so realistically 6-7 hrs. away from HHI
b.) I want there to be at least one person there that i know.
i say those things because living here has been hard. this whole move to a new place, by yourself, far from your family, and your friends, in a place that is freezing. (but don’t worry, it will all be an adventure). i am absolutely terrified that i have to do a big move again…alone.
i am dreading may. and at the same time i can’t wait to be done.
i am itchy of this phase of life. being a single, adult woman, who is still in school. it’s weird. looking for churches. trying to find community. all of it is too weird.
and it’s hard for me to not fall for the temptation to believe that it would all be easier if i was married. cause at least i wouldn’t have to do it alone. that’s just the truth.
would you pray with me that i remember how the lord has been faithful to me since i moved to wheaton…that he won’t just stop being faithful when i graduate with my master’s degree. i don’t want to have spiritual amnesia. but if we are being real, may is looking pretty unknown and i am pretty bad at remembering.
ps. go tigers. i mean numero five? seriously. awesome. love it. was trying to educate myself on the in-n-outs of the bcs deal today. let’s just say it made no sense.
i can’t wait for thanksgiving.
i miss my family.
i talked to this little bugger on the phone tonight. she asked me, “wanna come play with gator and yaya and sissy and addison.” wah. oh sweetness i wish i could.
earlier this week i lost my set of keys. so i have been using my spare car key.
now that spare car key is lost. fact.
what is wrong with me?
sometimes i just get annoyed at how much i don’t understand. at everything that just doesn’t make sense. so today i am going to tell you what i know.
i know that this world is a hard place to live.
but i also know that the one who created the world also created every heart that inhabits it’s soil. he will not forget us.
i know that mental illness is a hard thing to deal with.
i know this cause i see it everyday. in the teenagers at the hospital. and in me.
but i also know that jesus is near to the brokenhearted.
and sometimes in strange ways, and to teenagers who don’t believe he exists…i get to be near. and hope they catch a glimpse. hope they see a difference.
i say all this because today i sat across from a girl who is searching. and seeking. for love and attention and for someone to notice her. and so she has sex with random boys. all the time. with tears in her eyes she said to me, “meredith, i just feel so empty.” oh, my friend. i just sat with her. i asked her hard questions. she told me gory details. and in an hour and a half we put together the pieces of her story. at the end of today i felt proud of her. she had never admitted everything that she told me. because of shame. but for some reason today was the day. and i got to be the one who was near.
she doesn’t know jesus. and i don’t know if she ever will.
but i do know that i know jesus. and in some weird way i get to love this girl for him. whose story is so different from my own. i mean the fact that i wasn’t picking my jaw off the ground at the end of the conversation is a miracle. it made me feel so niave.
i can’t wait to see her tomorrow. it is days like these that make everything else worth it. the being tired, not having time to do anything (like laundry, shave my legs, floss—-ok, you’re right i never floss anyway) but seriously. if it were not for these glimpses of ‘my calling’ as cliche and dumb as that sounds. i wouldn’t make it through this year.
so, thanks jesus. that i can count on what i know. and the rest is in your hands.
wednesdays are hard. i just get so tired by the middle of the week.
today i was just annoyed at my bad attitude. me and some classmates walked to our professor’s house for supervision and i looked on the ground and was just absolutely stunned by the different leaves that had fallen off the trees. they were beautiful. so i started picking them up. choosing to see each one as a gift.
gratitude is a choice. and it changes stinkin attitudes like mine on a weary wednesday afternoon.
as i ran the leaves through my fingers over and over i just kept reciting “all is gift. all is gift.”
oh, he does give good gifts. i just gotta look for them.
whoever invented classes at 7:30am should be assassinated.
today in my ‘marital therapy’ class we got into a debate about marriage styles…whether we were for or against egalitarian marriages, or if we preferred a headship model.
i got kinda fired up after a woman piped in and made a blanket statement about how all women feel smothered and like they have no voice and place in the world. basically she wanted the same authority and power that a man has been given. and ensured the class that every woman in the room wants that as well.
no ma’am, i don’t want that.
i talked about how my parents really modeled marriage well for me. that my mom trusted my dad and the decisions he makes because she knows he is going before the throne to receive wisdom and guidance.
i walked away from class so annoyed but so thankful for the way my parents lived in front of me.
men and women are different. period. gender was an intentional part of creation. we need each other. and frankly, i can’t imagine with my mood and emotional swings having to hold the responsibility that my future husband would hold.
so, my question…as always, when someone gets all fired up about a topic is: “what is behind this for you? why do you care so much? there is something more going on here.”
diane and dave. you’re pretty cool.
fun fact: i have never seen my dad without that beard. ever. (well i have seen it in a picture). he has had it my whole life. we are obsessed with badgering him about shaving it. but he won’t.
he is in my phone as: grizzly adams.
i am finding that my weekends need to be a time of recharging my batteries from the busy week. here are some highlights of the weekend:
1. friday night met a friend for thai food and read ‘the hunger games’ till late late late.
2. saturday morning, had breakfast with a new friend and then me and my new shoes headed to off to the flea market. (cause i NEED more stuff, obvy.)
here is my favorite booth. i mean all letterpress supplies. too good to be true. and too bad that they are trying to get you to make $10 per letter. doubt it.
3. then i went to someone’s mustache themed party. loved it.
this is sarah. she lives in my room.
and this is meghan and sarah. meghan lives with me too.
4. held a baby for 3 hours today. a tiny tiny tiny little baby named abraham. love him. and that my arm is sore from holding him.
oooooohhhhhh, and clemson is ranked #8. so fun. go tigers.
5. just went on a walk/run to enjoy the scenery. and got to catch up with a friend. nothin better.
this weeks gonna be crazy. but at least for a couple days i got to stop and smell the roses.