Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dear Lord,

I hear your message today – do not fear. And yet so much of my life is about fear. So much of my life is about fearing what you are calling me to, fearing stepping off that boat, fearing that I will sink in the black murky water, and there will be no hand to pull me out.

Lord, I don’t see you even when I know you are there. I get so caught up in the hurry, bustle, stress, crisis, that I don’t see you. I don’t know you are enough, I don’t know that you are working all around me continually. I look for glimpses of you, of you “doing something cool,” when the truth is you are interwoven in every moment, and that your hand is always there as we sink into darkness.

Lord, I fear every day. I fear getting up every morning. I fear being overworked. I fear the empty spaces when the crises have passed and there is now unoccupied brain space. I fear what is left of me in those times. I fear there is nothing. I fear for the future, that I will be alone, becoming more and more drawn into myself, more attached to my routine, more tired, until I cannot focus out at all.

I fear disorganization. I arrogantly fear when I realize that I cannot keep up with everyone, I cannot be on top of all the problems of those around me. Every day I orchestrate a complex dance, with the illusion I am in control, the illusion that I can stay on top of everything…But deep down inside knowing that one unexpected event could shatter the whole thing to pieces. I fear losing that control. I fear the day when the house of cards comes falling down. What then, Lord? What is left of me when the external success has passed?

I fear the next steps of my career. I fear being on my own, not knowing what to do. I fear the possibility of going to Africa. I fear not listening closely enough to your call for me.

Lord, I lay these fears at your feet. Lord, you tell us not to fear, but only believe. You tell us perfect love drives out fear. You tell us you will guide and lead us. You tell us not to fear because you are our God. Lord, I want to knit this into my soul. I want to trust in you. Lord, I want to look for you to fill my empty spaces. Lord, I want to step into the blank slate, the unknown of the every day, stepping onto that unseen bridge, knowing that there will be solid ground under my feet. Lord, I do not want to look at unfolding events with a lens of hopelessness and overwhelmed, but with the peace that you will supply all that I need, that you are there, with a hand to pull me out of the water.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Unit

I am back on the ICU, a month I have dreaded for a while. A little scary to be the senior resident on a month where you have to lead codes, where daily you make decisions affecting people’s mortality, etc. That said, it has been ok. I have been working with the right people, and I have had what I needed to handle any given situation at any point. Thank God. It is a tenuous balance. I led my first code without incident, put in more lines than I can count. Dealt with strokes, heart attacks, brain herniations, death, sepsis. Have gotten commended in the morning on some decisions, on others got yelled at and called an idiot. Business as usual in the ICU.

More than ever, I am acutely aware of my own mortality. Every day people show up at the ICU dancing on the line between death and life. For some of them, it is an expected outcome of a longstanding disease, for some of them, it was the result of a sudden, unexpected, life stopping event. Some of them make it out, some of them don’t. I have watched families cry at the bedside, I have watched patients breathe alone on the ventilator, and wondered where there families are. I have watched peace in some people’s eyes as they depart from this world, knowing there is something better beyond. And fear in others, as they realize they are losing control.

And in this life, with air thick and fogged with emotion and death, I feel like I am treading through. Wanting to grab onto my own family, want to make my life meaningful. I get addicted to being in that transitional space, while at the same time wanting to run away and sleep for days.

7 more days.