If

The past few weeks have been incredibly challenging for me. There is just so much going on- school, work, the eminent threat of graduation and the NCLEX- that I’ve been swept up in this anxious maelstrom that’s gotten me absolutely nowhere. I like to play it off all cool, like I’m all about the bare necessities and Hakuna Matata, but really, I’m freaked out. I’ve had to come to terms with some things over the past few weeks: like that I might be okay if I don’t land my dream job as soon as I graduate. This is a big movement towards freedom from my ever-lingering expectations from the girl whose had her wedding all planned out since age six. I’m learning that sitting down and making words out of my storm is cheap therapy. I’m learning that I’m not just quite perfect yet, and will probably never be perfect, but that’s okay too. So this post? It’s not going to be pretty, or perfect- this is the rough draft of everything that I’m experiencing and learning through this Peter Pan phase of my life.

Senior year of nursing school has probably been the most mentally and physically trying for me. The clinical rotations I have had have required me to fully invest myself in my work. And it’s hard. There’s always a thin line in nursing/healthcare related fields: how far and how much can I invest in my life’s work without becoming emotionally numb, or a completely sentimental unstable mess? Here’s the answer: I have no idea. I really don’t. There is an immense responsibility to yourself and others to care for this soul, this person made in the image of God who stands before you. When we separate the human from their identity as created in the image of God, we lose the sacrament of our work. When we seek to divide the sacred and the secular, the picture blurs entirely. This is holy work, do you know that?  To me, God is palpably present in the “broken” things. If you look at the Scripture, you will see Jesus hanging around the marginalized and outcasted, the broken bodies and souls that so very often are on the blurred edges of our vision.

I had the privilege to participate in a conference lately called the If Gathering. (learn more about it here: http://ifgathering.com/) This gathering was composed of an interdenominational group of women (halleluiah, right? When we all stop arguing about who’s right and who’s wrong and look at ourselves, we realize that we are all the same marrow and blood; the Body of Christ) who met to answer this question : If God is real, then what? Reread that question again. How often do I slow down and go back to my basic carbon structure, on which my faith and entire life rests? When I stop debating the finer points of theology and take a breath and remind myself that God is real, he is moving and working in this broken world full of broken bodies when I cannot even glance to see the hope in it. Aslan is on the move.

When I look around and see how God is at work around me, redeeming and restoring creation, my lens is shifted. I move away from the blurring glare of the me-focused life, (I have to pass the NCLEX. How will I get a job) with its social media vortexes creating a lifestyle of dissatisfaction and comparison. And I see the Great Story, the one woven through all nations and languages, the one that sings the world awake every sunrise, and brings cool rest every sunset. And there is hope, and beauty, and the truest reality. That there is something beyond ourselves and the life-webs we have spun. There is incarnate grace all around us, in the lives of the people we interact with. The broken becomes beautiful as we seek to see it restored and redeemed.

I’m still learning from all this. It’s not a perfect narration of what I see and hear and feel right now, but it’s about as close as I can get. So, my fellow travelers, pause for a while. Make yourself some tea (Celestial Seasoning’s “Bengal Spice” is my all-time favorite), breathe deep, and watch the sunrise. God is real. He is moving and working to restore the broken. We are part of this story, no matter the work we do. Embrace that reality, and look at the ones beside you who comprise the Body of Christ, created in the image of God. This story is so much bigger than you. It’s bigger than all of us, really. Because it’s not our story at all.

Your Fellow Traveler,

Jess