Monday, September 9, 2013

On Trials

If you ever want to know how big a player you truly are in God's story, try doing your created thing for His glory. You will discover very quickly how many forces will come against you to try to keep you from your Kingdom work.

I know because two weeks ago, I started a journey into ministry. Chaplaincy, particularly. And you would not believe how crazy these weeks have been.

Let me start by saying: this is my created thing. I have talked before about finding that Aidan-shaped hole in the universe that just seems to be the place that I fit, and how I have always hoped it is out there somewhere. It is. I've found it. I feel like I've slid into this space like a glove, like this place has been carved out just for me. It's where I belong. Which is cool. Except...

I spent 1.5 days of the first week sick, one I had to call in completely and the other I had to take off early. After so many years of being on so many medications, I am now down to one and unfortunately, there was a delay in refilling that one medication this time because it fell on a weekend and then my doctor was at a different office and then blah blah blah until that medication was a week and a half late, and I had a problem in its absence. I wasn't "sick" in the purest definition of the word, but I was unfunctioning as a result of not having that medication on schedule.

Fast forward a week, and I was sick. What should have been my first day of full work on my unit in the hospital was instead a second sick day as I woke up with a fever. I shifted around my schedule, thankfully and by grace (not mine; I've never had much grace for this kind of thing) and was able to see my doctor, whose schedule has changed, and get on some antibiotics for a wicked sinus infection. At which point, I discovered almost laughably that I haven't seen my doctor since last September. A whole year. That's pretty cool for me, just a few years after I would have seen a doctor more than 20 times a year. Routinely. But it's little comfort on your second sick day in a week's time.

And don't think that's all. Oh, no. There is much more.

There's the fact that on a foggy morning during week 1, I turned on my windshield wipers to clean my windshield and the darned things broke. They were stuck in the "halfway-up" position until I had the opportunity to stop somewhere and push them back down, but I couldn't run them again. A couple of days later when I remembered the problem (it occurred on my way into work, so by the end of a long day, I had forgotten), I was blessed to find it was nothing more than a loose bolt that I could easily fix...for now. I may need to find a thicker bolt, though. That's still up in the air. Today, however, they work.

I had one family member, whom I love dearly, return to the hospital several weeks post-surgery with complications. A mutual relative went to help out and ended up in the hospital herself after a serious car accident. Another family member, whom I also love dearly, passed away. This last one means that now, on top of everything else, I have to deal with some of my family issues, which is always complicated.

A recently-announced road construction project closed down a stretch of road I don't even take, but sent the tens of thousands who do take that road onto my route as a detour, which doubled the amount of time it takes me to get to and from the hospital. (My program has been gracious to work with me and rearrange my hours so that I am now beating most of the terrible traffic.)

Some of these things have been somewhat healing. I have had a couple of days of extended times of prayer as I come face-to-face with long-held beliefs that I didn't know I believed in and questions I've had that I didn't know I was asking. I have had moments of incredible sense of purpose and deepest passion and incredible humility. And I've already declared that God will have to drag my dead body kicking and screaming away from this opportunity (yes, I went to the extreme of ridiculousness) because nothing is going to make me run. This is where I belong.

But I have to admit I was still kind of hoping this whole experience would be more perfect. I mean, when you find your perfect place, you kind of hope it just all falls together and you don't have to deal with all this....stuff...that just seems like life as you used to know it. I figure I must be doing something right, though, to have so much go so wrong. Things I have no control over because the things I get to decide every morning, I hold captive to the Lord and the world knows they can't have those. So this place is taking everything else.

Which makes the whole thing less-than-perfect, a frustration and aggravation. However, I also see in the muck that I am being perfected. So there's that.

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