Whenever I feel led to do something that I’m afraid to try, images come to my mind of being adrift in a flimsy boat in a large ocean. My dad used to say, "It’s like being up a creek without a paddle.” The feeling is scary and it takes spiritual guidance, faith and a bit of courage to overcome the fear.
Since I was a little girl playing with a stethoscope, I liked the idea of becoming a nurse. When I was in high school, I joined the Nurses Club and became a volunteer in the local hospital. One day, while I was volunteering, I was asked by a nurse to read a children’s story to a six-year-old boy who had multiple fractures from being run over by a truck. He was experiencing excruciating pain, but I sat at his bedside and began to read. All of a sudden, he began screaming loudly from the pain. I dropped the book and ran out of the room. After that experience, and receiving C’s in chemistry and math, I rejected the idea of becoming a nurse.
It wasn’t until I was 27 years old that I revisited the idea of being a nurse. I had matured a bit, with some of life’s experiences behind me. I was unhappy being a secretary, and eventually was faced with being a single parent. It became important to me to provide for my then 8-year-old daughter, Ginger.
At age 29, I entered nursing school. It felt like “boot camp.” I had to learn to “think on my feet” rather than ponder every step. Once, I fainted briefly during a particularly gruesome surgery. The surgeon said, “She won’t make it through school.” I studied and studied and wondered when I would be asked to leave the program while watching many others leave. I lived in fear the entire time. Then, on a special day, I was standing up with my class receiving my RN diploma with tears in my eyes.
It seems that a lack of Faith in God, oneself and others manifests in fear, which eventually leads to inertia. What in the world kept me going during that incredibly tense time in nursing school?
God seemed to have known that I hadn’t been ready in high school, so maturity was a factor. But, most of all, I feel it was God’s ongoing guidance (whether I was aware of it or not) and my developing faith and trust in this guidance that led me on. I really “leaned on God” during that most stressful time. The support I received from my Meeting was a strong factor as well. Friends encouraged me again and again by saying, “Yes, you can do it”. I’m very thankful that I did.
[Painting: The Great Wave by Hoksuo]