Nothing is Wasted. All is Grace. Part 2

During the first week after the episode I realized that attending OSM that term wasn’t realistic – you can’t get behind and expect to “catch up” – so I called to withdraw from classes before it would cost me much money since I was paying everything out of pocket. The only bright light of that week was talking to the student advisor during withdrawal and being shocked to discover that she has the same genetic collagen disorder I do — she completely understood what I was going through, and not only helped me withdraw, she gave me information about a local support group I could attend! (That first support group meeting was such an eye opener — I can’t believe I went so long without having access to so much information!)

As the last month has passed I’ve been waiting for insurance paperwork to process, and now it’s a matter of finding a PCP who is willing to take me on, so that I can get a referral to a new cardiologist (my old one is moving away – which totally has me freaked out, she was amazing). In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying my visits with my hospice patient, and NODA vigils — they remind me that just because I’m “broken” doesn’t mean I’m useless, I still have plenty to give to others. I love this work. Sitting with someone who is transitioning from this life to the next, being present for them and their families, this is what I was made to do… And they don’t care if my body is weak or broken… they are just grateful I came.

************

About a week ago I went to a retreat for the staff of the hospice group I volunteer for — set up for employees as well as volunteers to get together and have a day to connect with each other. It was a wonderful day to reflect and connect… And as I looked around at the group of people there, people from drastically different backgrounds and across a wide range of ages, it was impossible to miss the sincerity of their hearts. These are amazing people to be connected to… Somehow, as I participated in the retreat an idea began to tickle the back of my mind… some kind of “knowing” that I felt was there but wasn’t quite sure where it was taking me…

The retreat was led by two hospice chaplains, a woman who works in our area, and a gentleman from quite a few hours north of us… Listening to them, feeling the gentle weight of their presence, I felt I knew them… I recognized them… And it was the same recognition I felt when I first met the hospice chaplain that I work with in our hospice group here on the Eastside. The day he introduced himself to us during hospice training, we both felt that we knew each other from somewhere, though I know now that it isn’t actually possible. Somehow, I couldn’t shake that feeling of recognition, and then had the same feeling with the leaders at the retreat… That day, I found it puzzling… not uncomfortable, but puzzling…

But now I know what it is… it is a recognition… but a recognition of a “kindred spirit-ness,” not a recognition of a specific person. It feels strong because the “same-ness” is so strong. I am meant for the work that they are doing. It is a long road from where I am to where they are, but it’s not a road that is impossible for me to travel. Actually, it isn’t hard for me at all. There are specific degrees to earn, CPE units to acquire after that, but that all will come with time and I’m already getting started down that road. Still, it’s the work itself that I’m meant to be doing, and volunteering gives me that hands-on experience of this work that urges me forward.

So, now I know… I’m here to serve the sick and dying… no wonder my path has been a rocky one — I need the training. Nothing is wasted. All is Grace.mother-teresa-do-not-wait-for-leaders

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