Chaos…complete chaos has described my life these past few weeks. My brain is screaming at me as I prepare for finals and my final three weeks of this semester; my body says STOP, but my brain overtaken by perfectionism screams keep on studying- you can do better. As I reflect on what has been my reality, I cannot wrap my mind around all that has changed in the last year since my release from the doors of Selah House into the real world. In all honesty, it just seems like a dream…my whole life seems to be a mere speck of my imagination.
Being a hero is not easy! ;) In all honesty, I do not enjoy having huge needles stuck into my veins, draining a pint of my own blood, but the pain outweighs the benefits by a landslide. I cannot complain because I have been so blessed with health beyond my comprehension and I find it my duty to share my undeserved health with the less fortunate; ruptured veins, weakness, and everything else is beyond worth every minute gained by a poor unfortunate soul.
Last night we were beyond excited and blessed to pick up my dad and his buddy after a ten day trip to the breathtaking Nepal to visit their selfless children. I was not prepared for how truly poor this country is but was so blessed by how gracious and giving these people truly are; God confirmed in my small mind that I am blessed beyond comprehension and have no reason to let this smile slip my face. As we were watching the videos of Team Himalaya, tears rolled down my cheeks and a cloud of emotions came over me; I miss my twin so incredibly much and hearing her voice brought tears to my eyes; it’s been nearly six months since we last embraced and the thought of turning twenty without her makes my heart sad. It was difficult to see my dad embrace my beautiful twin, but my heart is still beating and fighting for the five more weeks she has left until I can squeeze her with my trembling arms. In all honesty, it doesn’t feel like I even have a twin; we’ve been separated so much and I long for the times of connection which are now but a mere memory. Treatment has separated us innumerable times and a part of my heart breaks for the time we never had together, embracing each other’s company and growing closer as an impenetrable force; my heart cries as I recall the lonely months separated by many miles too many from my family- time I can never regain. However, all of this comes with life and I have to take the bad with the good and the lovely because I was not promised a life exempt from pain; the pain overcome just makes each moment even more beautiful.
I am beyond honored to call Courtney my relative nonetheless my twin; the change apparent in her is beyond description and leaves behind marks of the one and only God who specializes in miracles beyond explanation. To see Team Himalaya sacrifice their time so selflessly and joyfully blesses me beyond words and leaves a part of me longing to be part of such a huge work of God. I do not know how to put into words all that they have been doing and continue to do; all I know to say is they’re sharing indescribable love to those not fortunate enough to have yet felt this intangible and strange sensation not of this world.
Several weeks ago I was helping in the nursery in church when a young couple whose son I’d been watching came up to me and asked me if I volunteered at Akron Children’s Hospital; shocked beyond words, I replied with an answer you all very well know and was reminded of why I volunteer; I had been the hostess at the surgery desk while their beautiful daughter was undergoing one of many surgeries. They say they remembered me by my smile, so I can only hope I left a mark of comfort and encouragement to this anxiety filled environment. I was beyond excited to see this amazing couple stay afterwards for the lunch provided when it was only their first time visiting; I have been blessed way beyond words by this incredibly strong family whom God brought into my life when I least expected it- it’s crazy how He works! This family’s story encourages me as I see the hand of God evident in every area of their life and am so blessed to have met such an incredibly strong team. This is why I volunteer and what keeps my fragile heart beating with exuberance- to interact with families in their most vulnerable states when hope is sometimes absent and smiles are too painful to force-I am there in hopes of being a light in the darkness with the hope and joy I have been given which is not of this world. I am called to serve, and so serving is what I will do.
As I was talking with my adviser this morning, I was “hit with a ton of bricks” by the reality that this semester is almost over and nursing school just may be in my very near future; very soon I may be the one inserting IV’s, administering medications, checking vitals- on the other side of the hospital bed I once lay lifeless in. A part of me is excited, but the other part of me is terrified and immobilized; I know it may seem like I’m overreacting and I very well may be, but just try to put yourself in my shoes: the medical field is not exactly right up my alley but is in fact the exact opposite of my comfort zone and the last thing I wanted to spend my life doing. Medicine and health care is a new world for me; in fact it's so big that it's scary, especially since I'm just now learning things most people already know,so I have ALOT to learn and stuff into my small brain. All of my life I lived in denial of medical help due to the perceived torture I expected and anticipated. My body became self-healing, or maybe I just became so used to pain that it became normal. The hospital was nearly my death bed too many times to count and doctors were my enemies. The image of walking through the “doors of death” into the operating room, only to be cut open from my neck to my waist, stripped of muscle to expose my fragile spine which was then penetrated by twenty one screws and multiple hooks and manually manipulated into a proportional curvature still seems to be just a dream; the scar which will forever penetrate my back into the depths of my soul reminds me of the fact that I am not dreaming and the pain of the rods and screws has become a part of my ”normal microbiota”. I don’t know how to be a patient’s advocate after Ive never been my own; I will have to learn to speak up for other’s pain even when I never could my own.I know all too well the pain of "fishing" inside a human being's arm with needles meant to heal and it is much easier for myself to go through it then to inflict it onto poor, helpless souls who look to me for professional advice and assistance; if I could I would take on the pain myself because it is more painful to watch then to endure. Even though the future may seem scary, I am more afraid of living apart from God’s will; it is scarier to have to fight against God than to have Him fight for me. Wherever He leads, I will follow. These last few weeks are going to be beyond intense, but bring the rain because without it there is no rainbow. The devil has and will continue to attack me relentlessly, but I am going to take that as a compliment because I am now a threat, which is a good feeling! I am not going down without a fight!