Gazing Up Sunbeams
My dad and I got into a discussion about gifts last night. We agreed that the healthiest way to live is externally focused, rather than internally, and part of fighting wrong patterns of thought is by being on the lookout for God working and His gifts. However, he went further and made the point that seeing the gift is not necessarily the answer but shifting our focus upward – towards the Giver. I immediately replied, “Like seeing and feeling sunbeams and understanding their origination from the sun!”
Spring always brings to mind concepts of sunshine – the days begin to get warmer, the evenings stay lighter, and the world just seems brighter and full of joy overall. But the sun is always there…even in the winter, even at night, even in the darkest storms. It just happens that the sun is more visible and apparent at certain times.
But even on the sunniest, most beautiful days, it’s easy to walk around and enjoy the warmth, the light, and soak up the vitamin D without really considering the source our enjoyment stems from.
Anyone keeping up with me remotely this semester has probably heard enough of my whining to know that this semester hasn’t been a walk in the park. Repeatedly, professors, healthcare professionals, and other healthcare students have told me, “Nursing school is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do.” While academically, my mind can handle the content and the skills I need to learn, finding the TIME in which to sufficiently do so with thirty hours of clinicals and about fourteen hours of class a week was where the struggle came into play.
This has been the most challenging semester of my life so far (which possibly just goes to show how blessed I am)…a semester where emotional breakdowns every week are simply normal, and never being completely prepared is just the way it is, no matter how hard I might try to stay on top of things.
But I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.
After the first half of my first day in clinicals, I was already in tears. It was hard, it was uncomfortable, I felt completely unprepared, and I felt utterly beaten down. It was humbling. In these moments, I am grateful for an earthly father who is always there and who models a picture of my heavenly Father that I can always run to. Prayer was immediately answered, and upon returning to the floor, my night turned around completely and left me with a smile.
However, the next morning I woke up feeling depleted of all energy stores…and I had to be in clinicals til midnight. It was a morning of feeling completely broken and shedding many tears. I knew that no matter how hard I tried, it would never be enough… In the past, I always had confidence I could conquer any challenge, and I had always been able to do so. But now…I simply did not have the strength on my own. End story. So I asked friends for prayer, admitting that I was tired, felt empty, knew that I didn’t have the necessary strength, and that if I was going to make it, it was going to be solely on God’s strength. And so I went to clinicals, exhausted and empty, simply trusting that God would give me enough strength to scrape by.
The second I stepped on the floor, energy flooded through my system…I’m not exactly sure how to explain it, but one moment I wanted to cry and give up and the next I felt ready to step up and tackle whatever came my way. And as I began making rounds with my nurse, I found myself fighting back different tears…tears of joy. To evidently see and experience God’s grace and love and mercy was overwhelming. It was as if I could clearly hear Him say with a smile, “I love you!”
And that is how it went the rest of the semester… I had full confidence that I would be given everything I need, when I needed it, and most likely not a moment too soon. Sometimes it would be more than enough, and sometimes it would just be enough…but it was never too little.
It caused me to begin seeing little gifts scattered throughout my day. Having five minutes to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, the evenings to relax with a book, the times studying with friends, the opportunity to work with a kind patient, or even a passing grade…all such simple and mundane things, but if you really look…you can see the Hands they come in, and realize that they didn’t have to be given at all. It’s like walking through the day and taking the time to experience sunbeams, to feel them, to soak them in, to let the joy of their existence permeate your soul for that moment…
And then…taking that joy, and looking upward to the Source.