love & [reflection]

Ya’ll.

It’s about to be 2019.

Like a year away from 2020.

Whoa.

Years ago, a couple of best friends showed me the importance of reflecting at the end of seasons, and I haven’t looked back. It’s one of the coolest things! And man, has this year been a year.

I have probably cried more times this year than I have in my life. (Well, maybe not when I was a cute little infant baby.) But this year, I had to acknowledge depression and anxiety, look them in the face, and say “you’re not going to swallow me whole”. And decided to go to counseling. Which is still a strange thing to say out loud.

But gosh, this year I’ve also experienced some of the deepest joy in the formation of friendships and servanthood. I’ve learned how to celebrate friends, and TRULY celebrate them. Like burst at the seams with excitement of how much they are killing the game of life, even when I don’t feel like I’m doing the same. I’ve had some of the best conversations, filled with honesty and truth and encouragement and straight up vitality. And I think I’ve loved people really well this year. I showed up when I could and when I didn’t feel like it and when it meant the most. And I’ve told people that I love why I love them. And why they are important.

This year sucked in a lot of ways, but when I count up all the sweet things, I see fortune instead disfavor.

At the end of the day, life is hard and surprise! – it only gets harder. BUT here’s a charge:

Keep showing up and keep loving people, always. “What’s done in love is well done” is one of my favorite quotes because it holds true.

Keep your favorite human beings close to your heart, and take care of yourself so that you can be the best version of yourself – not just for you, but for the people around you.

Most importantly, keep trusting God. He hasn’t forgotten you, He’s always always making moves – especially when it doesn’t feel like it.

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uncomfy

The other week at work, a co-worker and I were in my patient’s room making sure he was situated and ready for bed. He has been one of the, if not the most kind and appreciative patient I’ve had in these 6 months of the nurse life — let’s just say that can be hard to come by. He was admitted to the hospital for complications of heart failure, but unfortunately had a much longer stay due to some unforeseen health issues. Throughout the time he was in my care, he was always so sweet and so kind, but as the long days and sleepless nights in the hospital became innumerable, it was obvious his joyful spirit began to dwindle.

After helping him to the bathroom and finishing up his nightly medications, I said, “Alright! Are you comfortable? Do you need anything else right now?”

He responded, “Well, I might be comfortable soon. But right now, I’m not really.”

I was kind of puzzled at his response. So I said, “Tell me what’s wrong and we can fix it. I want to make sure you’re alright.”

“I think I will be comfortable eventually… Right now, I’m just not. But that is okay.”

We went back and forth a little bit and eventually I accepted the fact that he was content with where he was at. I felt frustrated that I couldn’t give him exactly what he needed.

This was a simple interaction, but what struck a cord with me was his willingness to be uncomfortable. He was unbothered by his circumstance. No grumbling, no complaining, just being. We live in a culture where instant gratification is expected. We are told if we’re not happy, to get out while we can and go after whatever it is to be happy. But that’s not always the best approach. We can see that by evidence of failed marriages or bad financial decisions. Sometimes, I think we just have to get comfortable with the uncomfortable things in life – the sucky job, the awkward love life, the difficult conversation with a close friend. Sometimes, we’ve got to be okay with where we’re at, even if it’s not the most fun or the most ideal.

Not only was my patient content, but he was hopeful. We don’t always have certainty on whether our bad situations will change sooner or later, or at all. But we can always hope our circumstances will get better. We can bank on the fact that nearly all things are temporary, expect for the One who made them temporary. And that’s a hard concept to grasp when you’re living in a now society.

So if you don’t love where you’re at in life right now, it’s all good. It’s temporary, and be hopeful that cooler and better things are to come.

Just get comfy with the uncomfy.

the beauty between pt. 1

Some of my post-grad days are really good. I love the days when I’m off and get to spend time reading a good book, or when I get lunch with close friends I haven’t caught up with in a while. When I take a trip with my family, or dress up to go somewhere on a Saturday, I’m think to myself “life is really fun”. But some days just aren’t. Some days, I make mistakes or give the wrong answers at work and have to talk about it. Some days I get home at 9 because I didn’t manage my time well and have to wake up at 5 am to do it all again. Or I have to cancel dinner plans with a friend for the 3rd time because I’m just too exhausted and go more weeks without seeing them. It stinks.

I don’t feel hopeless, but I don’t feel at peace either. I’m stuck in between.

So to motivate myself, I just rush through life. Which I think we all tend to do. We all “can’t wait” for the week to be over, or for summer to come, or for a marriage to begin, or for the next paycheck. We are always looking for the next thing because we have this urge for more of something. More security, more love, more satisfaction. But we’re always left wanting more afterwards.

For the past 2 months, I’ve been listening to this really incredible album by King’s Kaleidoscope called The Beauty Between. It’s an album about being present where you are, in the “between” parts of life – right in the middle of two extremes. About how everything is not black or white, so you kinda just hang out in this gray area. About how not everything makes sense, or is defined, or is even planned to expectation, and how uncomfortable that can be. But as the album goes on it shares, quite melodically, how beautiful those parts of life are still.

While I don’t feel like my mundane life is beautiful all the time, I’m reminded that I’m merely wrong, and that it is. How beautiful is it to laugh and to cry and to ask questions and to know the answers and to fail and to succeed. How beautiful it is that going to work at 6 am means seeing the sunrise and that near or far, I still have friends that feel like sunshine.

There’s so many gaps and deficiencies in life and we simply can’t fill them all in. I feel like I’m dosey-doeing through them, but luckily I’ve got a faithful dance Partner.

I fortunately fall into the beauty between.

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blessed

So I wrote this thing about a month ago, when the reality of being unemployed truthfully settled in and my emotions surrounding that were at an all time high. Although now, I am employed. I actually start orientation tomorrow, so life came at me fast. But our generation has a tendency to only show the peachy, positive, bright side of life on social media. Too often, we only celebrate our successes, but don’t embrace our failures. I wanted to delete what I wrote, because I thought it was too whiny, too spiteful, and now, too irrelevant. However, I’m hoping to speak to people like me, who find it hard to rejoice when others are doing really well or seemingly better. For people who want to be or do something somewhere else, but don’t know what that “else” is.

 

My spirits have been up and down. I know the job search is difficult. I was warned it’d be a long process, and potentially a discouraging one, but that I would need to remain encouraged and persistent. I know that most of everyone has been through this stage. Some unemployment periods longer than others, but many people have had the sheer joy of doing 30-45 minute long applications, never hearing back for weeks, and then finally getting an email that just says something along the lines of “we decided to pursue another candidate”.

I know in a few months time, I’ll look back and scoff at how worried I was. I’ll get something eventually, and have a new list of concerns that don’t include being unemployed. But right now, I’m really not in the mood for people to tell me my time is coming, to be patient, and to enjoy this time. Because I am doing all of those things. I feel good most days. I have plenty of time to workout, I can make my own meals, and I get to read books for fun in my spare time. Money is tight, but I’ve been getting by with the help of really loving parents. I’ve been able to refresh and keep up so many good friendships, and have been able to invest more time into church and ministry. But when you apply for 5-10 jobs a day, for weeks and weeks at a time, it feels like it’s own job. I’m tired of talking myself up in these copy pasted cover letters when those words can’t sum me up in person. The more jobs I get rejected from, the less I want to apply. And the more time I spend in bed. And the more baked goods I eat. And the sadder I feel.

As graduation was approaching in the spring, I started to make efforts to change my attitude about certain things. In March, I made the decision to a.) Not compare my journey to others’, and b.) Celebrate my friends who are getting jobs even when I’m still looking.

And it has been really difficult. I deleted all of my social media for a month this summer, hoping to avoid those God-awful “I’m pleased to announce” posts. Those have always rubbed me the wrong way. Seriously, it’s great that you got exactly what you wanted at this world-renowned organization that loves you so much. YAY let all of Facebook join hands and praise your success. Like seriously, did you do that to inform your friends and family that you’re doing well, or did you do it out of vain? I don’t plan on doing that whenever I get a job. And now, I have friends who are close to me getting interviews for the same exact jobs I applied for. It’s nearly impossible for me not to constantly debate in my head whether or not I did something wrong or that I’m just simply not good enough. I’m just kinda over this whole thing.

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I’m trying not be down about it, and I’m trying not to compare myself to others. I’ve been doing pretty well about remaining optimistic. But today is particularly hard. And I kinda just want to cry and watch This Is Us.

You would think by now that I finally found the light at the end of the tunnel. I have a job now! I can finally pay for my car without help, I can stop getting samples of makeup from Sephora and just get the real thing, and actually get more than just a drink when I’m out to eat. But it’s funny how we can be when God gives what we’ve been asking for. I’ve been waiting to be out of this awkward post-grad stage, and now that I’m on my way out, I’m kinda asking God to rethink His decisions and take back what He’s given me. A friend of mine said “I have to remind myself that everything I used to pray for is what I have now. Too often, we beg God for things, and once He delivers, we say it’s too much.” And that spoke to me because that’s where I’m at.

I realized my motivation in not posting about my new job wasn’t genuine. I didn’t do it because I wasn’t proud, and because it wasn’t my dream job. If I had got hired at one of the best hospitals in my area, there would’ve been no hesitation in broadcasting that. Because that’s what we want people to see. But that didn’t happen. I’m working at a hospital I didn’t anticipate, on a floor and with a population I didn’t expect. And that is okay.

I’ve been reminded to always celebrate those doing well around you. There’s something so special and humbling about sharing excitement with your achieving friends. Their victory becomes your victory.

I’ve been reminded that the timing may not be what we expect, and the blessing may not be what we think, but we’re still blessed. God doesn’t play favorites; He has our best interest always and has purpose and reason behind everything.

I’m anxious about working and getting a taste of the real world for sure, but I’m also really excited to start a new journey. It’s going to be challenging, and my perpetual state of exhaustion will only be heightened. Thankfully, I’m surrounded by fantastic human beings who are all in with me, willing to meet me where I’m at, and share in my victory.

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