Confessions of a human nurse
I will stumble/I will fall down/But I will not be moved/I will make mistakes/I will face heartache/But I will not be moved ("I Will Not Be Moved," Natalie Grant)
"I could never do what you do." Or so I've been told more times then I can count when people find out I'm a nurse. Especially if they ask for specifics of what I do. The details tend to make people a little…squeamish. What gets lost in the grossness is my weakness. I can coax an intestine back into an abdominal cavity, deal with a hemorrhaging head wound or uncontrolled vomiting, seizures, psychotic breakdowns, screaming patients, angry family members and even equipment failures. If that's the "never do" I can do it.
But nursing is not just the blood and guts, trauma and heroic rescues. It's death and destruction, abuse and failure. It's watching a self-created human train wreck and being helpless to stop it. It's losing your mind in a back room before smiling through a shift because you can't explain to patient B that patient A just broke your heart by her choices. It's crying yourself to sleep at night and praying to what seems like silence after a day of death. It's hating death with every ounce of your being so that you can get back up the next day and go to work when your eyes are swollen from crying. It's turning grief and fear into fire and determination and an iron will. It's spending hours training, researching and learning to become better, stronger, faster. It's learning to flip a switch in your brain between work and the rest of life so that, ironically, you don't lose your sanity.
It's learning to fight. Every day. Over and over again until one day you win. Even if just for that day.
Yoda told young Anakin, "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to the dark side." Nurses can follow the same path, only our dark side is bitterness, cynicism and burn out. Or we can convert that anger into an iron will that lets us do what others could "never do."
We're not special, but by God's grace we can be as stubborn as the gates of Hell we stare down every day.
I will not live in this cage anymore/I only want to be free/I'll give my life everyday just to know/One day I'm gonna be free ("I Want to be Free," Massari)
Trust is earned, not given. Or so I used to believe. Reality is, that's only half true. Trust needs to be earned, but once earned it's a choice. To give or not to give. Some who earn trust never receive it. Others who never earned it receive and break it. No one can keep it perfectly. No one can give it completely. But it is still a choice.
It is sometimes viewed as maturity not to fully trust anyone. That is a realistic way to live as long as you don't plan on getting close to anyone. Ever. We were made for trust. Yes, we fell and the sin nature prevents anything from working the way it was supposed to, but that doesn't make good any less good. Trust once earned needs to be given.
Refusing to give earned trust is not maturity, it's cynicism. Trusting when it is earned does not mean expecting perfection or denying reality, but accepting reality and dealing with imperfection openly.
No one gets through life without being hurt and for some of us it's more like being hit by a bulldozer followed by a zamboni for good measure. It HURTS and we don't want to trust. Anyone. Ever. And give a 10 point presentation on why we are totally justified in doing so.
As a believer, I convinced myself I could trust God and keep humans in a permanent probationary period. After all, everyone fails at some point, so why set the expectations any higher?
Because God says so.
We don't get to devalue humans and expect to be okay with their Creator. We don't get to call what He has made clean, unclean and get away with it.
So, I choose trust. Not blindly, not naively, not perfectly. But when it is earned, for His sake I need to give it. Because choosing to trust is ten thousand times better than living in alone with fear. Because I can't reject those for whom Christ saw fit to die.