Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another New Blog

"Bedside Manners" is rudimentarily up and running. What on earth do I need another blog for? (After all, I only have 3 plus facebook already. :P ) Well, go look and see...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

If you leave me to myself...

'Nother Michael Card song. From his album, "The Early Works": this album has some of my favorites as well as least liked Michael Card songs, but oh, well. Here's one that often comes to mind when I'm feeling empty and futile.

Failed again to make the mark,
lost my way once more.
Tried to do it by myself
like so many times before.
Once again I turn to you,
I'm hungry and confused.
Now all my strength's dissolved away,
and I feel like I've been used.

If you leave me to myself, O Lord,
it will always be the same.
It's you who'll have to hold my hand,
and protect me by your name.

I turn and find you there for me,
You've been waiting all along.
In your arms the sweet relief,
and you whisper me a song.
At times like these I ask myself,
"How could I have ever strayed,
and forgotten all you've given me,
and lost sight of what you paid?"

If you leave me to myself, O Lord,
it will always be the same.
It's you who'll have to hold my hand,
and protect me by your name.

Hmm. Songs from "The Early Works" that I really like:

Love Crucified Arose
This Must Be The Lamb
Hound of Heaven
By Your Name

Songs from "The Early Works" that I like but have theologically questionable lines:

The Voice of the Child
Light of the World
Stranger on the Shore
No Rusty Swords
Don't You Know
Now That I've Held Him in My Arms

Songs from the "The Early Works" that make me cringe or squirm decidedly:
I Have Decided
Tell the World that Jesus Loves You
Jesus Loves Me

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Phone Calls and Such

Has anyone seen Veith's post on phone conversations? Thought provoking.

I admit to feeling embarrassed calling specific people. Most of the embarrassment, though, seems to stem from a fear of being annoying or unwanted. I am alright with business calls, for the most part. One is expected to call about business, to straighten out one's affairs, and then to hang up. It's straightforward and no one objects. I enjoy getting personal calls, even though I'm often stilted, stammering and awkward on the phone. Personal-social calls tell me that the caller cares a lot. I mean, a TON. (It takes effort to carve out time for a call, and effort to maintain a conversation. It takes courage to reach out across the invisible miles to the unseen other and poke him/her in the shoulder. "Hey! Talk to me a bit. Please.")

Don't get me wrong. I like email. I appreciate email for the very reasons that at times I prefer phone conversations to email. With email one can precisely formulate one's words with deliberation, while phone conversations necessarily disallow deliberation. With email, one has a copy of what was said and can review the message at will to reassure one's self of the content and sender's meaning. With verbal messages, the words are distorted through memory. With email one has the opportunity to say much without interruption - to paint a landscape that takes concentration. A conversation necessarily involves a back and forth, a give and take. With email I personally am less inclined to hold back what I wish to talk about for fear that the other doesn't want to hear it. In a phone conversation or face to face conversation, I feel rude if I talk of myself uninvited, or talk long. The insidious little voice in my ear whispers that it doesn't really matter to anyone but me anyway - the listener is probably smiling and nodding politely with closed ear and thoughts afar. I could babble as well as any, but when I do, it leaves me feeling the emptier and more foolish because there is seldom a response that indicates anything other than the polite listener. Those who ask more, who draw me out, who respond genuinely, give me the best gift any humans have and I love them with a sinner's love (Even the pagans love those who love them). Among these are my father.

To sum up, I like phone calls because they are risky, unchoreographed, and pure grace. One must remember them in faith. I like email because I can control it, prepare it, return to it for (relative) certainty, and participate with low risk of rejection. Phone calls are dangerous because they put you in direct contact with another human being, their ambitions, aspirations, vocations, loves, hates, moods, babbling. Emails buffer you from all these things and put you in contact only with a mind - an almost disembodied mind - that can deal with you coolly as and when it will in a disembodied and removed manner.

As in the days of my infancy, blood and gore are more beautiful than unruffled clothes. The rag doll is more exciting than the stiff china maid. The fragile china makes one tingle with delight, while the disposable paper plate does not.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Oh, my little blog.

I've dreadfully neglected my little Adiaphoron this past year, both from busyness and from a lack of time for thought. I've felt as though I haven't anything significant to say that touches not on either the highly personal or confidential. My confidence in my own knowledge and mind are declining. (At least, on most days. There's always the occasional spurt of confidence with which I do something idiotic to rue later.) I'm learning to shrug off my social accidents and awkwardness; it's not like I can do anything about spilling the drink down my dress after the fact. Sure, I can be more careful: if anything, I'm learning to be more deliberate about social moves. If I must be conspicuous, I try to choreograph the period of visibility ahead of time. At the same time, I'm tired of trying to be someone. Even trying to be who I am is challenging. (You'd think it a simple thing to be yourself, but, actually, if it is important to you to be consistent and you are a woman, being a consistent self is a constant struggle.)

I've always kept myself soothed and calmed by singing to myself. It's not a lullaby - it's a "workaby". If the song is running on, I can continue to move forward. When it stops, my wheels slow and grind to a halt. At work, I sing my day through, one song-story after another, out loud in the hall, inwardly as I bathe patients and clean up messes. When I stop singing, I'm in trouble. Truly.

When I was very, very small, it was Wee Sing Bible Songs. In early elementary, I sang patriotic songs, old Methodist hymns, kids' Bible songs, and songs from church. Middle school and highschool floated through on tunes of Michael Card and LW hymnody. My first year of college, I got to know LSB and historic Lutheran and Christian songs amid a surging tide of Hope College postmodernity and Augustine College classic Christianity. This past year, I've hit a new lode as I've nosed down the shaft of folk through a tunnel of celtic gems. There's more sadness here, to be certain, and a few wells to avoid falling into.

Speaking of work, that's a pretty new part of my life (though it seems routine to me now) that hasn't gotten much coverage on this blog. Confidentiality is partly to blame. I do like my work. If I weren't serving people whose needs (physical, emotional, and psychological) didn't demand immediate and careful attention, I'd be bored with working. But people can't sit on the shelf like paperwork, nor can one ignore them like dirty dishes. They literally scream at you.

12 hours is a long time. When I walk into the unit, I leave the rest of my life behind. It's just my patients, the nurses, therapists,aides, and doctors and me dealing with the same problems from different perspectives. I'm a valued part of the team as are all of the other members. If one of us left, the whole system of work would go up in smoke. Even though I'm relatively new, I feel like I belong and am useful - and that is nice. It's fulfilling to be needed (if only to empty a bedpan) and comforting to share something (if that something is but the challenge of getting a confused patient to eat supper).

Somedays, I feel as if I'm in a madhouse. Disoriented and demented patients are calling out without surcease and other competent patients hit the call button before you have even walked 5 steps from their door to have you rearrange the pillows yet again. On these days I constantly sing myself calm and constantly plan the next steps I must perform. When I leave, it is as if I have lost part of my life. Whatever happened that day has to stay at the hospital until I come back to it. My family and friends are totally excluded from it. And yet, my work is the most interesting and challenging (physically, psychologically, morally) part of what I do now.

I've taken back over management of the goat herd. We're selling out all but six does and the buck. I'm keeping them dry until school gets out next year, so hopefully I can get by with only daily chores. It's been hard letting some of the girls go. I've shed tears.

There's more I would say, but I cannot and if I could, time would not permit now. Dear reader, farewell and Godspeed where'er ye be.