Pager Anxiety is what they say at work when you are trying to remember when you are on call or not.
My pager anxiety is more about the Deaf girl wearing three pagers by the end of the night, and not being able to tell which one is going off.
I have three pagers because one of them is for the women’s floors (women’s surgery, new moms, labor and delivery, PICU, pediatrics, and NICU), and one is for the trauma room in the ER in the evenings (car accidents, shootings, etc.), and then the other one is the on call pager for the whole hospital after everyone else has gone home (code blues, rapid responses, etc.).
Pagers, you guys. Because it’s 1995.
And seriously, three pagers. It’s hilarious.
Here’s a picture of my new desk (with nothing private showing), including that amazing picture Nathan made me of a Metropolitan Museum of Art painting of Joan of Arc. I also have a toy for each of the children, some of my favorite books, and pictures of my family. I will get more pictures up, add a lamp, and see what else I need in the next week. But that’s a start of feeling cozy.
Not that I ever get to sit around feeling cozy very often, as I am now even busier than I ever was on the BAT team. I thought I was busy plus having one pager to share for ER patients and other behavioral health emergencies, and that was when there were two of us covering thirty or forty patients. Now I am responsible for around a hundred patients just on my own, plus the other pagers for emergencies. I don’t even get to sit down except to do notes sometimes, and I have collapsed every night when I got home. But I am loving my patients and my work more than I ever dreamed, and I adore the people I work with in pastoral care and on my floors. They are amazing people with genuine hearts who care so much about our patients. I even love my little desk, after two years of not having my own space, and it’s nice to have a safe space to return to and rest – it gives me the resources I need for what patients need from me and for the renewal of who I need to be present as a chaplain for patients.
That is, of course, about all I can share about my work.
But the point is that my transition from the BAT team back into chaplaincy was smooth and beautiful and wonderful and I love it. It is such an integrative experience, using both my clinical skills and my spiritual self, and I am in awe of what I see God doing in and through people all over the hospital. I have felt welcomed on my floors, and I worked hard to do a good job, and I connected with my tiny patients and their families to bring about healing in the ways that I could – or that Heavenly Father can through me.
And really, that’s what we all do for each other, right?
That’s how we are an angel for others when we believe in them when no one else does.
That’s how we are an angel for others when we set the boundaries we need to be healthy.
That’s how we are an angel for others when we offer counsel that is wise but gentle, or firm but compassionate.
That’s how we are an angel for those who are not even aware of it, cannot respond, and may not remember it.
We do it anyway.
A prayer we read in the chaplain office this week was one from Mother Theresa:
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
~ Mother Theresa
Whether it’s parenting or just the everyday mundane effort of trying to live some form of a consecrated life, we do what we do because it’s the right thing.
And the sacrifices we make trying to do it? They do matter, even if no one notices.
Because the power isn’t in the noticing, but in the act of faith that is the doing.
Even when it seems impossible, or like you are drowning, or like hope is growing fainter.
Do not give up. Just keep going.
That’s what Kyrie does.
This weekend was marvelous.
I mean to say, it was an actual resting weekend.
For the last two years, I haven’t had weekends hardly because I was working at one hospital or another, and now I am officially Monday through Friday. I will have a Saturday rotation, not not every weekend or every other weekend like before. I rested and napped and rested some more. I played with the children, and let them help me cook, and took them on walks. I even was excited to go to church until I remembered Kyrie still can’t stay for nursery, but at least I got to be there for all of sacrament meeting!
There were a thousand things we needed to do, like paint in the yellow house or clean up the garage here that we moved so quickly. There were a million things to worry about, like getting our van back or wondering how to get us to Cincinnati and back again. But we didn’t. We rested and played and just spent time together, and that was most important – even with Cincinnati looming over us like a shadow, and a hundred other anxieties about life and parenting and children and provision and protection. We let it go.
Besides, it was a weekend to celebrate!
Barrett turns six this week!
We got him when he was two!
I can’t believe he is six!
Not only that, but I will be 41 on Wednesday. How crazy is that? I have maybe, finally grown into my age, just in time to be too tired to care.
Those years of chemo wore me out.
These years of children have worn me out.
Ongoing opposition has wiped me out.
Nathan said tonight he knows God isn’t punishing us because he knows we are faithful and obedient. I mean, we aren’t perfect, but we are trying. We read our scriptures and pray, we do the same as a couple and we do it with the children. We keep our covenants, follow the commandments, tithe on the rare occasion we get income, fast, have FHE, serve in our callings, and do the things we are asked to do and don’t do what we shouldn’t as best we can.
So it must be, he said, that Heavenly Father knows this difficult season is an experience we need and one that we will need to testify of.
And so we endure, because it’s what we do.
And as Nathan said, we’ve made it a lot longer than either of us thought we could in circumstances so difficult.
But to be honest and vulnerable and prayerful over our flocks all Alma like, it feels like that story toward the end of Alma when the guy is like, “Hey! Why aren’t you helping us? We are going to die. We need serious help over here, and it feels like you aren’t helping us.” And they send all those emails back and forth about being in crisis and needing help and it turns out they weren’t betrayed after all, just the king was under siege and needs his own help, too.
That’s what our life feels like sometimes, like we are out of provision and out of resources and tired of being in crisis, except then find out our calling is to help others who are themselves more besieged than us.
Because that’s consecration.
And acting in faith.
And hoping against hope.
It was two months before Kyrie was born, when I turned 38, that for my birthday Nathan gave me the book Re-Reading Job, because of course my life had been hard so it made sense to give me a book about the Old Testament Job story.
We just didn’t know it was preparatory, that life was going to get harder yet.
And it’s hard not to worry about how much harder we still have yet to go.
But what we know is that we don’t have pager anxiety.
Do you know why?
Because even when life is really, really hard, and even when circumstances are impossible, and even when you don’t even know how to keep breathing… we still know who is our God, and whose children we are, and what He has asked us to do.
And that’s what we are going to do, as best we can, as messy as it is.
Because nothing, long as we are faithful to our covenants, nothing can separate us from Him.
I don’t know what the answers are, but I know who holds the answers.
I don’t know when deliverance will come, but I know who will be the deliverer.
I don’t know what this story is that He has asked us to live so that we can tell it, but I know of whom I will testify.
And that is sufficient for my needs.