Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No documented evidence remains for all the damage I have caused in the last months. I should be relieved. Instead I am disappointed. How will I ever remember all my mistakes which God has kindly redeemed?

It seems as if it has taken eons to arrive here, and now that I am here, I hardly know what I should do with myself. Sure, I have some goals. But what if I actually reach them? Then what will I do?

Lydia’s answer seems reasonable. “You should write an auto-biography.” I’ve never wanted to write an auto-biography. Why would anyone want to read about my life? Why would I want anyone to read about my life? When the time comes that I change my mind, I’ll wish I’d kept my journal more faithfully. “You’ll be famous someday,” she said. I doubt it. The facts are these: God has been very gracious to me and gracious through me and I am humbled. I know the exact location of entrance for any good found lodging in my heart, mind or life.

Marked off for the year are such projects as: assist with Enoch’s birth. He’s here. He’s arrived. He’s dark headed and dark-skinned and growing like a yeast bread. And Elijah adores him. Five weeks in Tulsa both dragged and flew. Elijah bloomed in that time, his speech turning from broken English to complete sentences, his answers changing from parroting to “yes” and “no.” We spent hours together “studying” and listened to every heartbeat we could locate through my stethoscope.

“Listen Jijah’s heartbeep?” he’d ask, picking up the earpieces. I’d press the diaphragm over his heart and he’d listen, mouth open in a smile of awe, big brown eyes fixed vacantly across the room.

“What does it sound like?” I’d ask.

“Boom-boom-boom-boom-boom,” he’d say the rapid thumps. Then he’d make another request, “Listen Booyah’s heartbeep?”

The diaphragm would press against my chest and he’d listen again, his eyes shining.

“What does it sound like?”

In a deeper, serious voice, he would respond, “BOOM. BOOM. BOOM.”

Every morning he’d bid me good-bye as I headed out the door to school. CNA school. My class at Interim Health Care threatened to drown me with homework, but once I found the balance between memorizing the book and passing the test, the world became a bit more sunny again. Perhaps something inside me secretly hoped I wouldn’t like it. That it would be too hard. That I’d be able to come away from the class saying, “Well, I finished that, but enough is enough.” Or maybe I feared it. Or maybe I feared liking it. Or maybe I liked fearing it. I seem to get an awful lot of kick out of anxiety. At any rate, in the end my fears—or were they hopes?—were not realized. Once clinicals began, early mornings at a nursing home and then a hospital, I discovered that white scrubs were just my thing. Even if they were still too big. So much to learn. So many people to help. So much perspective, character, life to uphold, strengthen, encourage and—love. So much opportunity.

Apparently the stress was still enough to pack on the weight for me. In the class final, paired with my seatmate, Brittany, I stepped on the scale for her turn demonstrating taking height and weight. She slowly inched up past one-hundred. At one-twenty she looked confused and started to bump the weights back down. “Keep going,” said the proctor, a little, firm lady of whom we were all terrified. And she did. Past one-thirty. Past one-forty. And she finally stopped at one-forty-three. We looked at each other and blinked as she reported the number. “Now,” the proctor chuckled, “would you like me to take my foot off the scale?” After that tense moment, the rest of the test seemed like a breeze.

A few of my classmates dropped by the wayside as we went, but seven of us finished and graduated and scheduled our state boards. I just didn’t think I should take anything for granted and I stressed about the boards, too. Stressing always helps my performance. No? Tell that to my knotty stomach. Taking Hannah Marie as my “patient” helped relieve some anxiety. In the end I became convinced that the goal was to pass CNAs—as long as they were not safety or health hazards. So I received my certification and came home.

After a couple of days of flurried cooking, cleaning and rearranging of Lauren’s house, that is. Where Mom now resides, calling me to ask where undiscoverable items are lurking. I usually don’t know. Oops.

Here I am now, the proud possessor of a CNA license. A nursing school hopeful. Owner of an almost new car--my inheritance from my Grandma who has gone before me. Trying to wrap up a recording project for my dad. Trying to finish editing a book. A theology book. How can I even begin to explain in a way that will sound like non-fiction? And trying desperately not to get entirely sucked into the presidential campaign, while studying history, Austrian and Keynesian economics, the constitution, and the current state of our country. I can’t decide if my life is making more or less sense every day.

“What is your life goal?” read the essay question for a very profound scholarship contest. That choice of words was deliberately made to suggest sarcasm.

My gut reaction? Well, eventually, I’d like to die.

Yes, that is my life goal. I will be satisfied when I come to death and know that the hard part is over. To me, death is a finish line at the end of a race. It would be easier to run, I think, if I could see the finish line. But, no matter. Life is work. It is pain. It is toil. It is tears. Death is rest. Because death isn’t destruction. Not for me. It is the end of work, pain, toil and tears. It is resurrection to new life. Perfect life. Holy life. Rest. I will no longer feel tiredness, confusion, distraction, temptation, fear, guilt or doubt. Death marks the beginning of life. Real life. Perfect priorities and perceptions. Eternal worship and joy in the Creator.

Almost every day I wake up and think, “I wonder when I will die?”

It’s not like having a sword hanging over my head. It’s like waiting for a promotion.

Oh death, where is thy victory?

Thou now art something I embrace

Not as a chasm fixed and dark,

But as a passageway to grace.

For thou art but a hall to peace,

So sure my soul may be in Christ,

Who triumphed over death and sin

To pave the way that leads to life.

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