Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Who by worrying has added a day to his life...
I apologize right off the bat if I write a barrage of nursing-related posts and it bores you (all three of you!) to death. But since I decided to take on the possibility of returning to school, it's taken off like a wildfire. On Monday I went to work and prayed that if this truly is the direction God wants me to take, then there's a lot of stuff I need to get done, I'm working all week, and I don't know how I'm going to do it, so He's going to have to provide the time even if I'm at work. I got to work and was scheduled in the Special Care Nursery, where there was only one baby to care for, and Labor and Delivery was unusually slow for a Monday. My friend Carolyn was in the newborn nursery (MUCH fun - Carolyn and I share brain cells). It was what I like to call a "nose picker" of a day. :D Prayer answered affirmative: twelve hours of nose picking...or school-applying. Said baby's mother is afraid of her and rarely comes to visit (why are people so afraid of babies/preemies?? They're a lot hardier than WE are, just really, really small!) So I unhooked her from her monitor, propped all four pounds of her in my arm, and set to work.
First, I should tell you about Carolyn. Carolyn graduated from nursing school with me - we knew each other and were acquaintances but not close friends. She was an emergency room nurse for about five years and left it for many of the same reasons I left the NICU (I shall blog about that sometime) and now we're washing/rinsing/repeating at our current job. Carolyn is VERY smart; the best IV start I know; one of my most amazing sources of accountability, whether with our marriages or exchanging lists of what we eat...but I digress. Anyway, I got to work on Monday, bowled Carolyn over, and talked her into doing school with me. It didn't take much convincing; Carolyn exhausted the same list of excuses as I did over the past six years. Carolyn is the only child of two University of Michigan professors, and grad school's been in her face her whole life, and she's avoided it like the plague. What it came down to for both of us is plain old fear and pride: fear of failing, and having our pride broken if we did.
Well, Carolyn doesn't need a fire lit under her: she IS the fire. Carolyn zooms around like a crazy little chicken (I mean that in the best of ways), both literally and figuratively. She took off. We took our nose-picker of a day and downloaded applications, took notes, ordered transcripts, and applied to the community college for the Statistics course. (Did you know that you can fax an application to the community college and have a student ID # within 30 min?? Brilliant!) The next day (yesterday), Carolyn had the day off and negotiated spots for BOTH of us in an online stats course that starts in October (not at the community college, after all).
Today I'm meeting my friend Becky at the beach. Becky and I became friends when I worked in the NICU in Grand Rapids. She flew out to California with me to drive from LA to San Fran when I moved there; when I met Matt she was the first one on a plane to come out and meet him; her house was my "home away from home" when I was traveling hither and yon...she's just one of those solid rocks of a friend who would do just about anything for you. I told Becky about my latest plans on the phone this morning, and she just about fell over because SHE'S been itching to do this, but is scared to death. Becky is alarmingly smart and one of the best nurses I know. She tells me of the number of people at work who are harrassing her to go back to school and she's scared to death, just like me and Carolyn. Scared to death.
All that to bring me to one big question: WHY are nurses - people in general, actually - so afraid to take another step? The first thing that comes to mind is that most of us don't give ourselves enough credit...but what it really comes down to is I'm not giving GOD enough credit, for gifting me in such a way, for leading me thru so many experiences, for placing a desire in my heart that could very well be fulfilled if I absolutely trusted Him to help me follow thru. It's the parable of the talents: are you going to bury it, or are you going to take a calculated risk and use it, invest it, for perhaps better results than you even thought it would yield?
By the way, this doesn't only apply to three short nurses applying for grad school. It applies to everyone. You never know what God will do with your life if you refuse to let Him lead you down that road. Like He's going to lead you down the wrong road. Do we really think He's on the edge of His throne wondering what's going to happen next??
All three of us are absolutely petrified that we're not smart enough, it'll be impossible to do while working full time, it'll be incredibly expensive, we'll flunk (not too hard to do in nursing programs, where a grade of less than 75% is failing), or just not even be accepted in the first place. Just applying feels like a daunting process, requiring transcripts from previous schools, letters of recommendation, personal and academic statements, an interview...what if Carolyn gets accepted and I don't, and I'm the one who talked her into it in the first place?
But since when has fear motivated me to not pursue a dream? This is the only time. It's ridiculous. If any one of us fails, doesn't end up following thru, decides it's not really what we were looking for, what have we lost? Nothing. We still have a job we (usually) love. We still have a roof over our heads. Families who love us. Dogs who fetch toys. Nothing has changed or been lost. Why worry about that?