Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Adventures

I feel like so much has happened since my last post.

Firstly, I got offered the job from the miracle interview I wrote about in the last post.  I actually didn't receive the more official offer until last Thursday.  There was some mixup with HR and then I was in Europe for 10 days...

Secondly, I was in Europe for 10 days!!!  So... this is how it went down.  I somehow accidentally forgot to put myself on the schedule to work from mid July to mid August.  This is not unusual.  It's happened many times and usually my manager will call me and put me back on the schedule.  This time, I didn't get a call... so I held a thought for about 0.25 seconds that maybe I should call and put myself on the schedule... but then that brief moment quickly fell into the shadows of a much grander thought... maybe I should take a trip before I start work.  Yeah.  I went with the vacation.

I hadn't planned on going to Europe.  My first thought was to take a holy land tour... but that didn't really seem feasible on such short notice... and there were also... bombs landing in Israel... so... yeah.  I decided to look at other options.  I also thought to myself... who else would have the time and the means to go somewhere with me... and my cousin came to mind.  She's actually not really MY cousin.  She's my dad's cousin but she's closer to my age than my dad's age so for all intents and purposes... she's my cousin...ish.  She just graduated with her doctorate from eyeball school so we thought that us two newly minted doctors could take a trip before we start working.  And then her parents decided that they wanted to go too.  So this lonely aspiring traveler acquired 3 travel companions within a week's notice.  It was a miracle in and of itself and yet another way that God shows me that He loves me... He provides for my needs and then goes above and beyond and answers the desires of my heart.

We went to Paris and Prague.  Saw lots and lots of buildings.  Paris is an incredibly beautiful city.  It's amazing how much effort they went to in order to make the buildings look the way they do and also how far they go to maintain it.  I walked around and I marveled... it just felt like I was experiencing a piece of history but in modern times.  It was also nice that pretty much everyone spoke English.  It did help that I understood some French but I really didn't have to even speak in any complete French sentences.  The French people seemed to understand my Franglais.  The closest I got to actually speaking French was ordering gelato.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from my trip:

Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile -  honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars
La Tour Eiffel was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel and was erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair.

Our view from the middle of the Eiffel Tower

Inside the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Loved the metro signs

Hangin' out at the Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg

Outside Chateau de Versailles

Somewhere outside Versailles

At the top of the Tour Montparnasse 

At a garden near Prague Castle

By the Vltava River

Obstacle course on Střelecký Ostrov.

The lock I left on the St. Charles Bridge.
I wasn't expecting my trip to Europe to be an amazing journey of self-discovery or that I would have any revelations or crazy epiphanies... but the act of leaving this lock on the bridge did change something inside of me.  I struggled with the idea of whether or not to leave a lock on a bridge.  It felt like vandalism.  It felt pointless.  But every time I passed a bridge with locks on it... it felt like something we would have done if we had been there together.  

Some years ago, a new fad started when love-struck sweethearts began locking padlocks onto the chain link fence of the Pont des Arts, which crosses from the left bank to the Louvre museum. The love padlocks, called cadenas d’amour, multiplied until there were thousands of love tokens on the bridge, each engraved with a message of love. After locking the love padlock onto the fence, lovers toss the keys into the Seine river – a sign of their eternal devotion.

I walked by so many locks on bridges in Paris... and also walked by a lot on bridges in Prague.  On the very last day of our trip, I decided... if we passed by the St. Charles Bridge one more time... I'd do it.  If I think about something for days... I figure... it meant enough to me to continue to ponder it... so I might as well just do it.  Even if it just gets cut off at a later time or no one cares or no one sees... it meant something to me at the moment I left it.  There were some pushy Asian tourists trying to make me move  (i.e. push me out of the way) so that they could get a picture at the exact spot where I was locking my lock.  I didn't even spend a long time choosing a spot.  I chose a spot as close to where we were walking by as possible and I chose the first location I could.  I would have liked to have spent even one minute IN the moment... but... the pushy Asians eventually got their wish and I moved so they could get their picture that apparently couldn't wait 20 more seconds.  At least I got MY picture.  And I forgot to throw the keys into the river.  Oh well.  Maybe I'll throw the keys into the ocean in California and it will REALLY symbolize that this love will never be unlocked.  

Thinking about Anderson and his love made me think back to my beginnings.  Sometimes I feel like I never truly "lived" until he came into my life so I count my time with him as the beginning of my true life.  In small groups, our ice breaker question was "who has influenced you the most in your spiritual life?" and the first answer I thought of was Anderson.  And then I thought about all the lessons I've learned after him... from people or situations caused by people who have caused me pain and suffering or heartache.  It is in those situations where I'm desperate and pleading and yearning for relief... that I have seen and experienced the power of God.  

Something I read while I was in Europe has been stuck in my mind since then...
Only when we enter our wound will we discover our true glory. As Robert Bly says, "Where a man's wound is, that is where his genius will be." There are two reasons for this. First, the wound was given in the place of your true strength, as an effort to take you out. Until you go there you are still posing, offering something more shallow and insubstantial. And therefore, second, it is out of your brokenness that you discover what you have to offer the community. The false self is never wholly false. Those gifts we've been using are often quite true about us, but we've used them to hide behind. We thought that the power of our life was in the golden bat, but the power is in us. When we begin to offer not merely our gifts but our true selves, that is when we become powerful.
"Where a man's wound is, that is where his genius will be."  My genius lies in my insecurities and fears of inadequacy and dread of loneliness?!?!? It may drive me to achieve more and to reach out and hold on to relationships more deeply and more relentlessly. In my search for deep connections with ppl, many meaningful friendships are forged. Out of the brokenness of my pain and heartache, compassion and empathy spring forth. Maybe it's not totally that God redeems my worst faults and flaws... He does do that... but maybe it's that this was part of His plan to begin with. I didn't mess myself up totally and God isn't all about cleaning up impossible messes as He is about unveiling the genius that He already created. 

So, I wrote the above paragraphs two weeks ago and I hadn't gotten around to finishing this blog post.  I haven't exactly taken the time to really flesh out how I've been feeling, but I can say that in the past few weeks, I've been reminded just how loved and blessed I am through so many people pouring into me and reminding me that they support me and care for me.  

I feel like where I am in life... I've gone far in so many areas... but in my career, I'm still a newbie.  I eagerly await the moment where I feel comfortable in this new role... where I can boldly and confidently bless my patients and praise the Lord for placing me in exactly this place at exactly this time in order to care for precisely this patient... which made all of this worth it.  I have moments like this all the time when it comes to my friends... and I'm hoping that I will start to have moments like that when it comes to my patients and my new work environment.  

I start work on Tuesday and I'm not excited... I'm scared.  I'm being flooded by feelings of inadequacy and fear that I will not be good at this job.  There is a heavy weight of responsibility that I know will be laid on me and I hope that I will be able to shoulder it and be a nurse practitioner of excellence.  I dread the growing pains I will inevitably go through as I transition into this new chapter of my life... but the God who has never failed (me or anyone else) in the past, will not start failing me now.  He has empowered me and strengthened me to accomplish things I never could have imagined and I'm not done living/growing/breathing yet.  It will be an amazing adventure.  

Maybe I'll have more thoughts tomorrow but for tonight... I just want to press "publish" so I'll have at least one post for August 2014.  

Bracing myself for the brand new ride...

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