Saturday, July 30, 2011

the way I see it

Hm... this is an odd feeling.  I'm blogging.  I haven't blogged in over a month.  Tonight, I cleaned my room (a little), did some reading, did some homework, did some yoga... and it's still technically a little "early" for bed.  The night before I work, I stay up until at least 3am so I can sleep all day and wake up at 3pm to get ready for work at 6pm.  It's an odd schedule for most of you non-vampire-types but for me... this is my routine.  And I've finally caught up enough with schoolwork that I feel OK taking some time to blog.  :)

I don't even know what to write about now.  That's OK.  Sometimes I start like this and end up writing a whopper anyway. 

OK so... updates... going to work, doing my school stuff, hanging out with people... traveling a little bit... all in all I've had a pretty busy summer so far and there's so much more to look forward to in the coming months.  I'm quite excited.  :)

The start of the summer was kind of rough for me.  I was at the park one day and I was so tired that I wasn't reading, I wasn't journaling... I was just sitting and... vegging.  I thought about how many times I've sat in that very spot on that very table... and even though this park seems to stay pretty much the same every time I visit... I'm amazed at the ways in which small changes or little differences will hit me and speak to me.  Or maybe... it wasn't that something changed... it's that I just took the time to notice what was already there.

So... I was staring at this tree and I decided that... this is how I felt.  I felt tired... worn down... faded, slanted and droopy.  I felt like I had lost my leaves... I'd lost my spunk... I felt barebones in some areas.  This is what I felt like sometime in June.  I was a sad, sad tree.

Right next to this sad, sad tree... was this happy tree.  This tree is standing straight up... strong and solid... full of juicy green leaves... vibrant... lush... and not only that... this tree has leaves that are shaped like hearts.  This is a tree... abundant with love. 

 Here's a close-up of the leaves.


I don't want to feel like a sideways frump lump of a tree.  I wanna be this tree that's healthy and growing... and grows heart-shaped leaves too. 

How in the world do I get there?  In fact... how in the world did I get where I was at?!?  I don't really know... maybe I pushed myself too hard in May... maybe I overestimated or underestimated something... maybe all the pressures of work and school were finally catching up to me... I dunno.  All I knew is that I didn't feel good.  I didn't feel bouncy.  I felt sad.  And I felt very, very alone.

And I know what you might be thinking.  If I heard myself say that... I might want to say... "hold it right there, Tiff... you are FAR from alone... you've got people all around you... who love and care about you... you're super awesome!"  Yeah OK... maybe you wouldn't have added that last part. Anyway, I tell that to myself sometimes but sometimes I don't believe my own pep talks.  I feel how I feel.  Or felt.  It is kind of past tense by now. 

I decided to get honest with myself.  I was depressed.  I was sleeping more than usual.  I didn't care about the piles that were growing on my floor... on my bed... on my desk... I just decided to admit it to myself... finally.  OK.  Got it.  I was depressed.  Now what? 

Well... I guess after you make a diagnosis... you've gotta figure out an intervention... you've gotta do something about it.  I had been convicted lately that I might have been relying too much on my friends. I was going to them with every thought, every emotion... spending nearly all my free time with them... I thought to myself... maybe I was feeling alone and lonely in spite of all that... in order to remind me to go to Jesus first... the only friend that is with me at all times... who knows exactly how I'm feeling... who loves me so much that He would humble Himself... curl up next to me... and rock me in His arms as I cry... and not only that... to cry my tears with me and for me... because every bit of sadness and heartache... He feels too.  There is no ache in my heart that is too small or too insignificant for Him. He loves me so much that He sees me and knows me... every single piece of me... even when no one else does.  So thankful to have a friend like Him. 

So while I was wallowing a little with Jesus... He reminded me that it was OK to reach out to friends... it was OK to tell them that I was hurting and broken.  So I emailed a few people.  And I was amazed by the response. 

It wasn't even all from the people I emailed directly.  Somehow... here and there... people who I haven't talked to in a long time... decided to drop a line and say hi... or email and ask how I was doing... or text and let me know they were thinking of me.  AND the people I emailed also responded and let me know that they were praying for me.  I cannot deny that God hears the desires of my heart... even those I did not utter (or type)... and prompts people to minister to my needs.  Even though I didn't feel it at the time... I could not deny that I was/am so very blessed... and so very loved. 

I'm sorry if this has gotten boring.  I half wanted to tell you what happened and half wanted to continue to thank people for caring for me... for taking the time to FB me or email me or text me.  I really really appreciate it. 

Anyway... before I admitted to myself that I was depressed, I wanted to stay home, hide and wallow.  Funny thing was... after I admitted that I was depressed... I didn't feel like I needed to wallow anymore.  I actually wanted to go out and see people... even if it was just to listen to them talk to me and not say a thing. 

I did this at work too.  I can't remember what I was doing... but sometimes I'll do something in a patient's room, leave and then come back to check on the patient again later.  It's somewhat multi-tasking... it's part of being a nurse.  But this one particular night at work... I decided... not to multi-task.  I decided to just stay and wait with the patient.  At first, it was a little awkward.  No one was saying anything.  I was just... standing there... she was lying there... (air conditioning whirring... beeping audible way off in the distance...)... and then she began to talk to me.  She asked me if I was married.  I said no.  She said, "good girl... you're still young."  I said, "I'm probably not as young as you think I am" (patients tend to think that I'm in my early 20's... sometimes younger...).  She asked me how old I was and I told her.  She then went on to tell me about her life.  She told me how she had been married for like 50 years... and she took care of her sick husband for the last 15 of those years.  I asked her what happened to him.  She told me that he had tumors in his spine... that it took him a long time to lose function, but eventually, he couldn't feel/move anything from the chest down... she had to do EVERYTHING for him... but she still took him everywhere in the wheelchair.  She told me how he took care of her for most of her life and she was able to return the favor and take care of him for the last years of his life... for better or worse... til death do us part. 

This was one of those precious moments in nursing that I would have missed out on had I rushed out too quickly.  I had been feeling a little bit dead inside but having this woman basically tell me that she and I were in some ways... one and the same... only her experience was longer and more drawn out.  I heard her describing my life in Houston.  And my heart moved for her.  I didn't cry in front of her, but if I had been a tree full of hearts at that moment... I probably would have.  All I did was ask her how she felt.  And she told me.  I left that room... amazed.  Amazed that my heart could care for this stranger... that all my life experiences could have prepared me to be her listening ear for those few minutes that one night... that I could have connected with her in a very profound way... and I didn't talk about myself at all.  She never knew what I had gone through... but maybe she could still feel that I cared.  She trusted me enough to tell me her story and her feelings and I feel privileged to have been able to be there for her.  I heard from the nurse who discharged her that she was asking about me before she left the hospital.  She said that I was a sweet girl.  :)  I was really happy to hear that.

Changing topics now... I do remember that I had a few thoughts that I wanted to share.  Might be unrelated... maybe you'll find some continuity in it... but I wanted to write a little about one of my mom's loves... Zumba (oh btw... it's this fitness craze that's basically high-impact, aerobic dancing... mostly latin-style... some belly dancing... YES my mom bought us those jingly skirts). I've gotta be honest with you... I'd heard of Zumba... I've seen ladies crowd into the room at the gym... and I've never had an iota of desire to join them... until my mom wrote me a card and told me that she was coming home early so we could hang out and go to Zumba together.  She wrote this verbatim in the card, "I love to Zumba".  It was heartwarming.  So I went. 

Here's a funny for you.  I'm so embarrassed.  But since I'm sharing, I might as well make it a memorable post.
Here I am striking a pose in a zebra jingly skirt.

Let me just say that Zumba was one of the most difficult things I've done in a while.  I tried to analyze why I'm so bad at it... I tried counting and memorizing the steps... I gave up.  I am horrible at Zumba.  My hips don't move that way, my feet can't find the steps, I'm constantly going the wrong direction... my arms can't move if my feet are confused, I can feel myself being a stiff, wobbling mess... and if I was only focused on being perfect or being "good" at Zumba... I think I would have quit and called myself a miserable failure.  But... the point of Zumba-ing... wasn't really about being a perfect Zumba-er... it was to spend time with my mom... and exercise.  It didn't really matter if I was jumping to the beat or jumping to my own beat... if my feet went the way they were supposed to or if I just flailed in my own little spot and hopped around like a bunny.  The more I decided to let go of my pride and my desire to figure everything out and be good at everything... the more I just enjoyed myself... and jumped around for the sake of exercising. 

OK after a little bit of flailing and hopping to my own beat... I decided that maybe I should just TRY to do what the instructor's doing.  So I did.  It's taken a few times but I think I'm starting to get it a little more.  I've graduated to a less horrible Zumba-er.  Quite an accomplishment.  I still don't really wear my jingly skirt with pride but it's a lot better than before.

So I started to think about life and Zumba... and how even if I fail at life... maybe the whole point of it isn't to be perfect.  Maybe I will never move like the instructor... maybe I will just have to jump to my own beat and step around myself in circles... in an imprecise likeness of the instructor... maybe it's just to keep on trying... keep on striving... and stop worrying about what I look like or comparing myself to other people... maybe it's just to exercise and enjoy myself while doing it.  If you ever watch my mom Zumba-ing... you will definitely say that she Zumbas with her whole heart.  She loves it and it shows.  She doesn't care what she looks like... she stands there right in the front and puts her hands in the air and wiggles like there's no tomorrow.  She Zumbas with love and joy and I can tell her enthusiasm is infectious. That's how I want to live life.  I don't want to be obsessed with being perfect or get bogged down by my "successes" and "failures"... I just want to live life with my whole heart... overflowing with a joy that's infectious... flailing with passion... moving with such an enthusiasm that it draws others to want to join in and "Zumba" too. 

So you know what... I decided that it's all a matter of the way I choose to see it.  Even in the Christian life... we have members in the body who are "better" than us... who can keep up with the steps... who seem to have it so much easier... but who am I to compare myself to them?  We're all in the same room... all following the same instructor... and we're not there to BE the instructor... we're just following after her and exercising our bodies in the meantime.  We're there to do something good for our bodies and to have fun while doing it.  There is a lot of bravery... and a lot of grace required for a room full of Asian women attempting to Zumba. But it's OK.  It's not really about how you do it... although it kinda plays a part in it... bottom line... it's all about the heart. And that's how God sees it too.  He doesn't really care what I look like when I come... He just wants me to come... join in... and Zumba.  I dunno if it's true or not but one of the instructors told us that "zumba" means "party".  So just come and join the party.  :)

Come to God with a heart that desires Him... who seeks after Him... and He will transform you from the lopsided frump lump to the tree abundantly overflowing with heart-shaped leaves.  Abundant life, peoples.  Something to look forward to.  Something to choose.

OK.  I'm really out of practice.  Should get back to blogging more regularly.

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