I Wish I Were You
Over the past few months, several people have written me saying, “I wish I were you”. Each time it has made me stop. Like really stop. I read the statement and reread it. I hold my heart. Why would someone say that? What is going on in their life to want to be me. ME?!
Is it the life I portray?
Do I write and walk like I have it all together? Is it the adventure? The mission life? The travel? The four boys? The committed husband? The pastoral husband? The nursing life? The peace and contentedness? Peace and contentedness???? Am I at peace? Well I must admit that for the most part, I wouldn’t trade a thing about my life. Even living overseas has just been a rich experience that oozes with blessing rather than sacrifice. Sometimes when all the family is gathered around the table and we share yummy food, my heart almost wants to burst. As I watch dishes be scraped clean and hear stories from my own men-children of faith and growth and utter silliness and joy and tests and life changing experiences. I think, is this true?
I am not naïve enough to know that it could all change in a heart beat and at moments I have to refrain from wallowing in fear of the “what if’s”. What if my husband leaves on a trip and doesn’t return? What if my kids get in a motor cycle accident on the way to school? What if something awful happens to us here in the mission land? What if??? WHAT IF????? I am my own worst enemy!!! And people wish they were me?
Thailand was amazing. To be able to escape the day-in-day-out crazy schedule of homeschooling and saying yes to way too many things. For two weeks, to drink in stimulating medical lectures on topics from depression, to fungal infections, to asthma, to teenage brains, to helping babies breath, to ultrasound, and to more then one can take in. Honestly though, the medical lectures and knowledge pale in comparison to the worships, the devotional thoughts, the field reports, the people met, friends to share the experience with, and conversations had. Unbelievable. So deep. So life changing. So moving. I will cherish my two trips to Thailand(2013 and 2015) forever. And feel so honored that I could go…..
While in Thailand I absolutely loved learning about the “Helping Babies Breath” program. One in ten babies will be born with breathing difficulties. 90% of the babies can be resuscitated with this very simple program. Of all the life saving programs designed (ACLS, BLS, PALS, etc) studies show that this program saves the most lives. It is written for the lay birth attender and is very very simple to teach. All of us who took the class received a baby Natalie. We can fill her with water and she becomes very life like. She has an umbilical cord that can pulsate and her chest will expand when she is resuscitated. It is my hope that we (the nurses in the clinic) can fly into the far villages and train the birth attender’s there. Now I can understand why you would want to be me on this point! : ) And several of you are groaning and thinking, “Not me!!!!” YAY!!!!! : )
Also another great thing I took away from Thailand was a lecture I attended on burnout. Maybe by applying some of these truths to your life it will keep you from wishing you were me! : )
If we feel trapped by our jobs or situations we don’t have to change that setting in order to prevent burnout. All we have to do is shift the draining part so that it is 80% of what we do. Then 20% of what we do needs to equal what we REALLY enjoy and find GREAT satisfaction from. For example: in my “work day” I spend 80-90% of my time home schooling and managing our home and 10-20% of my time doing clinical work. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being with my family and believe that my role as a housewife and home school teacher is very important at this point in our family. Yet I gain great joy from working with people in a medical setting. It is often the highlight of my week. I leave the clinic, invigorated. Am I balanced? haha……my friends would laugh, because they know that my life is full and overflowing, but I am happy with my “more mundane work” to my “joy filled work” ratio at this point. Increasing the 20% to a higher percentage does not equal more joy. 20% is enough. The effect from 20% of favorite work had the same effect as if one was spending 50% of their time doing what they loved. Working in this 20% of enjoyment zone, promotes well being as well as prevents burnout.
Another thing to assess is, are we in the “flow” of our work potential? What that means is if a job is really new and we are out of our comfort zones, that can be really stressful. Or if a job is so familiar and old that we are board, that can be very demotivating and unchallenging. So being in the zone of “great flow” is being comfortable and yet challenged, learning and growing.
Also social connectedness is a huge key to not burning out. We all need friends and colleagues to keep us from being isolated. A friend to share with, that can really understand the situation you are in, is a blessing. And enough can’t be said for our own personal faith journey.
Alright!!!! Enough about some of my take home thoughts from Thailand. I could write so much more……but for now, enough. : )
I about got sucked into the WHAT IF trap two weeks ago after taking Jacob to our doctor. Jacob at that point had been “sick” (no energy, and I mean NONE) for over a month. Dr. Di did an extensive physical on Jacob and ordered a long list of blood work. His physical exam was normal. So I questioned if doing the blood work was really indicated? We had already done two blood counts over the past month and they were both normal. Dr. Di assured me, it was time to dig deeper. She threw out random possibilities of diagnosis’s and right at the end slipped in the word Leukemia. The impact of that word did not hit me until Jacob was in bed, Darron wasn’t home yet and I was alone with that word. Do you still want to be me? I wasn’t sure I wanted to be me, right then. What were we going to do, if that was the diagnosis? Let’s just say I didn’t sleep much that night and I asked Darron to come to the lab with me the next day. Usually I can face most challenges here……but I needed my man for this one. All the blood results came back normal. To which we are so grateful. And to those of you who do not get positive outcomes for your children…..oh, my heart aches for you. Yes, my heart aches. We still don’t know what is wrong with our limp boy. We had one day of glorious playing in the wind….which equaled health to me. But the next day, the hope of healing was replaced by Jacob being wiped out and he still is……with little snatches of moments where he thinks he may be getting better.
A week and a half ago, while Jacob sat in a chair and Darron was away, the rest of the family participated in a cross country 5K. It was so much fun! All my guys did great and their slow Mom made her goal (which was slow, but I didn’t stop running). Aubrey ran the final lap with me, which just endeared my heart all the more to the young man he is becoming. This run to me represented a year of weight loss and exercise discipline that I have never done before. It also represented seeing other people push themselves to meet their goals and that was really satisfying.
We are back in the stick our noses to the ground. 8 more weeks of school. 5 days a week, plugging away at home school. It’s really not that glamorous folks. This past Monday all the pastor’s wives and their families came over to learn how to cook American food. We served over 60 for supper. I’m not sure how I get myself into these things…..maybe I wish I were you. Then again, let’s move forward each day with the life that we have been granted. Asking God to give us the strength and wisdom to press through. May we find joy in the journey, and thrive instead of just survive. As always, thanks for reading and all the positive feedback you all give me. I love writing and knowing that you are reading. : )