Sunday, September 21, 2008

People Matter

That's what I hear in my heart/mind/soul...I don't even know exactly where...somewhere deep inside, though. I just firmly believe that people...people matter. I actually took some time for myself this week and read. It was amazing...I'm not sure what compelled me to finally do it, but I'm glad it happened. I read 1st and 2nd Timothy and then a chapter out of Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, which I've been reading out of since mid-summer. I love reading it. I love Mother Teresa's heart, or rather, I love that she seeks God's heart and acts out of a sense of His heart for people. I love that she's humble and talks about how others could do it better, how she is so weak, so imperfect...I love that you can see God's strength in her honesty and humility and weakness...She acknowledges her imperfection and gets out of God's way. She talked about herself being a "His instrument". Her desire was to give up all that she had to serve Christ through serving others. In one of her writings, she wrote about how she loves comfort and nice things but that her desire was to carry Christ to the poor. She said, "God alone, God everywhere, God in everybody and in everything, God always." I love the way she saw God everywhere.

One of the passages that stood out the most to me the other day was regarding the lepers in Calcutta: "(I want to) make them know that they too are the loved children of God & so give them something to live for."

That really struck a chord with me because it's really something I believe. I believe that Christ brings hope. I believe, like Mother Teresa, in bringing people to Christ by showing them His love. When she was establishing the house for the dying, she said it would give her a chance to put her "love in living action". That's what I want.

I got into nursing because I thought it would challenge me intellectually while allowing me to work with people. I figured I could live a comfortable life with good pay and excellent job security. I figured it'd be flexible and I could raise a family...but God's been working on/in me as I've gone through school...somewhere along the way, my focus stopped being on comfort and success -- on nice houses, comfortable living, and pretty things. It's been kind of a slow process as I see it...gradual...I can't think of when it started...but I know it did. I mean, it must have started a ways back, but I know a big step was declining internships to go to camp...and that led to a lot of learning and a lot of growing...and it seems I'm even more in this new place. Like I always loved Mother Teresa and what she did, but her words never sounded so much like my own...that probably sounds cheesy or like I'm trying to say I'm awesome...I know I'm not...I'm no Mother Teresa, but I understand...I I can related to what she says about people. I know people matter to God, and I am thankful for all the times He has let me show them His love. Like at the nursing home...I still had rough days...but I don't think I could have been patient enough to really care for those people if God hadn't been doing it all for me. It reminds me of something my teacher said at my mental health clinical. She was talking about how, especially in mental health nursing, we (our presence) is instrumental in the care we give. She wrapped up her explanation with, "Who are the tools?" which, after a slightly awkward pause, we replied, "We are!"

And I want to be God's tool...maybe that'll be my new blog title. I want Him to use me. I want to respond when He calls. I want to go and do and share Him and be with Him...everyday. ;) Because I love that while that's my desire for my life, God can call and use me everyday. I want that...everyday.

It's been weird. I haven't really been ruminating on what I'm going to do with my life lately, but it seems that somehow, it's becoming a little more narrowed down. Just in talking with my roommates, I've been realizing the things I believe in...the things I value...the places where I want to take God (through my nursing skills?). I really believe in Good Samaritan's slogan: "In God's love, everyone is someone." Mother Teresa said something about caring for the poorest of the poor, the unwanted, the rejected, the forgotten...that's what I want to do.

I want to care for people. I want to let them know that they are cared for, not by me because I can't care for them...not like they need to be...because I get hung up on the things that annoy me, I get impatient, I can be harsh and hurtful...but I what I want so badly is for them to know that they are cared for through God...I want them to know that they are loved by God, that they matter. I want them to know that they are not forgotten, they are not useless, they are not beyond love or hope, they are not beyond forgiveness...because they have a God who passionately and eternally loves them...I want them to know that and the beauty of that. I don't care if I have a job where I get to perform a lot of skilled procedures. I don't care if it's action-packed and "exciting". I don't care if I "see a lot". I don't care if I start a thousand IVs and become pro at assisting in surgery. It all means nothing if I'm not caring for someone. I don't want to treat illnesses. I want to treat people...not even that...I want to CARE for people. And I don't just want to care for people who look like me and live like me and I can relate to...I want to care for those who don't know they're cared for. I realized just how much I mean that when my friend and I were discussing convicts the other day. We were discussing what "privileges" convicts should have and which were "a waste". I took a very different stance because I told her that I didn't think that convicts were a waste of time...yes, some will never leave the walls of that prison, but God still loves them, and they can still change...they can still learn...they can still change...We also discussed that day different areas of nursing. My favorite settings so far have been community health (and school nursing), long term care (of the elderly and the developmentally disabled) and mental health. I'm also intrigued by hospice, but haven't tried my hand at it, yet.

You know what I want? What I want so badly that it makes me cry? (I'm almost scared to say it...) I want to go somewhere most people don't want to go and care for the people that think no one cares about them. I want to show them that they are loved. I want to love them so badly. I don't even know who exactly those people are. Sometimes, I think they're the dying. Sometimes I think they are the aged. Sometimes, I think that it's young people who are lost in the business of this world. Sometimes I think it's the poor. Sometimes, I think it's the mentally ill.......Sometimes....Sometimes, I think it's people who aren't in this country...people somewhere far from here...people who don't even have "the basics" of health care...

Maybe those dreams are me parroting "noble undertakings"...but I don't think so...the desire is too real...too huge...

Oh, and when you pair it with my desire to live simply. Oh my goodness. So, I was reading in 1st and 2nd Timothy, right? I was just blown away over and over...1st at a passage that talked about "charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of a faith unfeigned." Oh, I cried...real charity...real love...real faith..."unfeigned"...sincere. It frustrates me because I know I can't do that...not perfectly. Mother Teresa talks about her shortcomings! I'm so impatient...I can be so short-tempered...I question my ability to show compassion and charity to others...but I suppose the beauty of it is that if that's truly my call...then it won't be my compassion or my won't be my'll be God...and He...He can do that so well. Reading those books, too, just reminded me of God's provision in all things -- His faithfulness. Like in 1 Timothy chapter 6, I was rocked by the thoughts of richness in the Lord and contentment with His provision. It talked about putting trust in god instead of riches, recognizing that we "can't take it with us". And how if we have riches in this world, we should be willing to help others with what God has provided. Then, in 2 Timothy chapter 1, I was reminded to trust in God's provision of strength and love and talked about how God had given us a spirit of power and love and a sound mind. I mean, it gave me a lot of peace...because as I come to realize more and more that I want something different..that I want to go out and love people...that God will provide...He will provide everything I need...He'll provide the love and the strength and the faith and He will care for me. And too, it made me think about the assets I have, the blessings I have that I can share...that can help me to help graduating without debt...or (fairly) good health...

I don't know. Maybe I'm just over-excited. Or maybe I'm now embarrassed by my excitement and wishing to diminish it. But that just reminds me of what I was reading in Timothy...about not allowing anyone or anything to dim what I have seen God do. So, I will choose right now to not be ashamed of the desires and the excitement and the learning that I wrote's a blessing...oh, the tears I am crying as I right all this. I feel like my heart's going to explode, and I like it...I like it a lot. Alright, to wrap this up...I'll share the clincher, what really brings the tears to my eyes...I don't want to tell people that "people matter" or that "people matter to God". I want to tell/show each one that they individually matter to God. "You matter because you are loved by God." The crazy more than ever before (not saying I'm totally on board)...I realize that I, too matter. Like, when I think about how "People matter"...I also hear that I matter...and that God loves's pretty sweet...and I know it's not cause I'm perfect or have become more perfect...He's always loved helps to know that...because it's a great reminder that He'll continue to be faithful, continue to hold me, continue to be with me. Plus, it reminds me that no one else will be perfect either...and they are already loved. It's just a matter of letting them know the truth. Jesus did the grunt work, we get to let everyone know what He's done. It's awesome. It's awesome. I'm pretty sure I had a share along those lines this summer...I feel compelled to find it, now...but perhaps in the morning. For now, I'm going to sleep with a big ol' smile on my lips because Jesus loves me, too.

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