Sunday, January 18, 2015

{Musings} Interruptions

I am a planner. I think part of it is because Scott and I are so busy that we have things figured out pretty far in advance to function, but I think part of it is just who I am. I genuinely love sitting down with my fancy Erin Condren planner once a week and writing in everything. I remember my first planner, in the sixth grade -- they handed out these big, spiral notebook sized planners with all these planning tips and advice and I was obsessed. I can't put my finger exactly on why I love to have everything planned out, but from writing my weekly menu to outlining my medication schedule at work, I get a kick out of planning. 

So, it follows that I hate when my plans don't come to fruition. I think this has been one of the hardest things for me about both motherhood and nursing. On my unit, the doctors meet once a day and discuss each patient's plan of care and make new orders and changes to that plan. Nothing upsets your day like coming back from a break to see that the doctors ordered two units of blood, a biotherapy treatment, and extra lab draws. And motherhood is even more this way -- you can plan all you want, but you are dealing with (at least) one completely irrational little being that has his or her own idea of how the day should go. I think both my career and my role as mother have helped me to let my carefully laid plans go a little bit, but I think it will always be difficult for me to have things go awry. 

I've been thinking about this in terms of life's journey as well. A lot of my big epiphanies are related to cancer, because I am around people who are having their plans rerouted by cancer every day. Today I was reading a blog post by the mother of one of my former patients who had recently had a checkup scan. The news on that scan was not necessarily bad, but did leave a lot of questions for that family on whether or not the cancer would return in that child. I found myself wondering, How would I live with that, always wondering if the cancer was going to come back? How would I be able to get through life on a day to day basis with that heavy question hanging in the air? 

I am visiting my parents in Idaho right now, and have run into some acquaintances whose lives have changed by other such moments -- a woman whose husband was diagnosed with cancer this year, another one whose parent has a terminal illness. These sudden swerves in what looked like a straight road have me wondering how I would react to similar circumstances in my life. My own knowledge of the road ahead is shrinking -- Scott has less than two years left in school, and we have no idea where we will be after he graduates. We are hoping to expand our family, and there is no telling how our next child will affect the dynamic of our family, if that child will be healthy and well, and of course when that child will make his/her appearance. And it goes on and on. 

There is a quote from the second Anne of Green Gables story, Anne of Avonlea, that helps for moments like these: 
All Mrs. Morgan's heroines were noted for "rising to the occasion." No matter what their troubles were, they invariably rose to the occasion and showed their superiority over all ills of time, space, and quantity. Anne therefore felt it was her duty to rise to the occasion and she did it, so perfectly that Priscilla afterward declared she never admired Anne Shirley more than at that moment.
Rising to the occasion in life's uglier, more stressful moments is not one of my strengths, although it is one of the qualities I pray to develop every day. I feel like if I can learn to rise to the occasion in the small interruptions in my life, maybe one day when the larger ones hit me, I will be able to endure them with grace. How do you manage to rise to the occasion when you want to just throw a screaming fit when things go awry (or is it just me that wants to throw a screaming fit)?

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