I work in a crazy place.
I’ve been a nurse now for about 4 years and in that time I have experienced beautiful highs and devastating lows. There are days when I leave the hospital after a long shift and am struck by just how much human suffering that one building can contain.
Listen, I want to be positive here. I want to be able to provide encouragement and hope. The thing is, the varieties of hurt are just too much for me to ignore sometimes. I’m feeling lost and I want to know…where is God? How do find Him (or Her, or it)? Where should I look and how do I open myself to receiving grace when I need it most?
If you were to ask me over a cup of sweet coffee what my thoughts are on the divine, I would tell you this. I believe it is everywhere. I believe it can be found in the smallest lilac petal and in rocks that are lightyears away. I would say that God is there in the love we have for each other but also in war and famine and displacement. These are things that I really believe must be true because they are the only way the world makes sense.
But yesterday, as I sat ugly-crying in my car after work I honestly couldn’t feel the truth in any of that. My heart could not feel what my mind was trying to tell it. I felt so in need of divine grace but I couldn’t feel it anywhere. I tried asking for it but nothing came.
I wanted grace not just for myself but also for the patients I had cared for that week. I tried to ask for it but found my well of compassion was dry. I felt that work had taken everything from me and given nothing back. I was completely empty.
I had nothing more to give the confused but verbally abusive patient who had made my life a living hell for a full 12 hours. Or to the drug addict who managed to make me feel like a bad person when I asked him whether he was using drugs in his hospital room (spoiler alert: he was). I didn’t even have anything to give the very sweet cancer patient who was waiting for some crucial MRI results and just wanted his physical pain to lessen.
I had nothing more to give anyone and all I wanted was for God to give me some support and hope.
But I felt nothing.
So, if there is enough grace to go around as I really believe there is, how to I find it? How can I really believe in abundance when I reach the limit of what I have to offer?
I would love to have a concrete answer to this question. Or a checklist of actionable items. I love checklists. But I don’t think that’s how these big problems work. I just hope that someday I understand how they do.