My heart is full tonight. Full and aching, and it seems like there are so many reasons why, I’m just not sure where to start. So I’ll follow a que from the Sound of Music and start at the beginning (it’s a very good place to start). I work at a school, well a district really. I’m the nurse, yes THE nurse, the one and only for roughly 1,100 kids. It’s funny when I say that to all my nursy friends. It seems like general society views my position and current career as less than stellar. That all I do is bandage knees, take temperatures and monitor for lice outbreaks. Sounds glamorous, no? After all, there’s not all that much that can happen at a school-right? Wrong. Each day I not only do those things I mentioned, but I constantly monitor multiple fragile asthmatics, diabetics, anaphelactic allergies, medications, and most importantly, I battle on my mission field of kids and families who are hurting, and in such a desperate way.
Here’s the thing, I work in a poor, poor area. The amount of kids in my district who are in foster care, out of foster care, or couch surfing is tremendous. I have students come to my office in the morning so that they can sleep, because they can’t sleep at home. I have students who I’ve treated once, over a year ago, who remember my name because I was kind to them, and that isn’t something consistent in their life. The pain that I see on a daily basis is heart wrenching. Last Monday I attended a middle school boy’s basketball game and texted my husband about half way through that I’m a sucker for these lost boys, they just need a home. But I can’t do that. What I can do is call their parents again, to see if they need assistance getting their child to the eye doctor, or create an environment that’s safe for kids to come and find peace. I may not be pushing cardiac drugs or reading labs, but I did send a student to the doctor for a random case of PSVT, have treated and transported kids with concussions, and make the call for possible spinal injuries and diabetic emergencies. But most of all, I hope that I offer safety and security, because there are so many kids at home who don’t have even the most basic of needs met.
So it seems like I’ve found my calling, right? Yeah, there in lies the issue. I just don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I love my job. Well, I love the kids. And I work with some pretty great people, and I think (well I hope) that I’m making a difference. At least in one child’s life. But there are so many other things I’d love to do to. I love to teach-it was thrilling to have my first batch of nursing students. And I part of me misses the clinical aspect of nursing. It would be a blessing to me to help other couples going through infertility, and being part of a team at an infertility clinic would be amazing. And I love adolescent psych, finding myself back in the halls of a pediatric psych ward would be great too…but I live in the sticks and most of these options are null and void for the moment. So I’m trying to be content. Content with what I have, and where I’m at. And praying to be more for those around me, spreading the holiday cheer.
Which brings me to Christmas. I love Christmas, it’s my most favorite time of the year. But it’s also the most difficult. For the kids I work with, this is a reminder of what they don’t have, a constant stressor and trigger of anxiety. And that doesn’t necessarily exclude my own children, who have lost greatly in their young lives as well. And lord have mercy, I swear every woman I know is either pregnant or has a new baby. Which makes Christmas hard for me-I mean we celebrate the best birth ever on Christmas, right? Hmmm, so contentment. Contentment can be hard to find. So where do we go? Where do I go?
I think the only place we can go is to our knees. When I was in nursing school, my favorite clinical instructor gave us some sound advice one day after our shift. We had been dealing with wretched preceptors and difficult patients, and she said
“Girls, sometimes you just gotta give it up.” And she’s right. It doesn’t matter what we do, how we practice our skill, where we go for our work, or what our paycheck is, to find contentment we’ve gotta just “give it up”. Give up worrying. Give up focusing on what we don’t have. Give up struggling to be what we’re not. Give up caring what other people think of what or who we are. And most importantly, give up our burdens to the only one who can bear them.
I can’t be an infertility nurse, or a clinical peds psych nurse (though a do a LOT of non-clinical peds psych). But I can be a great school nurse, with His help. I will never get pregnant, and post pictures of my belly in various stages of pregnancy. But I can be the best mom I can be to kids who have been blessed to me. With His help. I can’t take home all the lost boys. But I can give them kindness and compassion. With His help. And if I recognize that I can’t do or be any of these things on my own, but rest in the wonder and security of His help, then maybe, just maybe, I can be content.