26 May 2013

It's bad when Satan believes in you more than you do...

Life has been an interesting adventure as of late.

Things are tough. As the days drag closer to the mission, I anticipate it getting more difficult. Honestly, that surprises me. Satan attacks those he knows will do well. Those who will greatly thwart his plan in destroying Father's plan. I am not a teacher, by any means. I am argumentative, not often sensitive to the needs of others. I have read the Standard Works, but can I quote them or even locate scriptures when I need to? Nope. I can't speak in public without sounding exceptionally awkward (unless you want to hear about Grandma getting tased or getting pulled over.) In short, I am not a missionary.

So why is Satan wasting time on me? I don't really anticipate being able to put a crazy dent in his plan to lead the Children of Men astray. I just think it's funny that Satan, the one whose goal is to destroy everyone and to make us all miserable like himself, believes in my ability to be a missionary then I do. That's just funny. And sad. Haha, and awkward.

Satan is doing a good job of stressing me out. Finances. Selling my car. Packing things up. Making sure I have everything I need. Then on top of that, he's doing his best to make me doubt myself. Not that I'm supposed to go on a mission - I know that I am. It's one of the few things in life that I actually do know. But in me. Errant thoughts of things like "Yikes, a good mormon probably wouldn't have had 4 Dr. Pepper's this afternoon." or "That would have been a perfect missionary opportunity." but not noticing until after the person has walked away. Oops. Or "well, that person must never have wanted to hang out with me in the first place. What must be wrong with me?"

These aren't thoughts I normally have! My former (like 4 formers, but that's splitting hairs) had their entire bathroom decorated in Dr. Pepper motif!
You know what, I'm not a missionary yet. The point is to learn to recognize those moments (in time) and then learn to act on them. It's okay not to be there today.
If that person doesn't want to hang out with me, that's okay.

When I was younger, I had a huge chip on my shoulder. Partly because of my past, and partly from teenage angst but I really felt like I related to that song by Mark Willis, "Don't laugh at me" At one point the song says, "You don't have to be my friend, if it's too much to ask." Yeah. That was me. I had a few friends. And while I yearned to be a part of a group, any group. I wasn't. I didn't know how to reach out. I didn't know how to be a friend. Some people are content being alone. I was not one of those. I wasn't just alone, I was intensely lonely. But I learned to let go a little. Realized that I couldn't control everything. Learned to trust the people around me, even if just a little. I started having friends.

Then life got complicated again. My world shattered, hard and fast a bunch of times in a short period of time. Friends were dying, dropping like flies around me; killed in tragic accidents, suicide, alcohol poisoning. I was attacked. My best friends' Grandpa died (who was so much more my grandfather then anyone else had been at that point.) My Grams died. Later, that same best friends' dad (who again, was more father then I'd ever had) died, followed a few short weeks later by my own dad. Then I was attacked again. And twice, the legal system failed me. Both times, I was left to deal with injustice alone. And I clamped inward again. (I like to think that before this life, I must have gotten into a line saying that I was going to get all of my bad days out of the way really early.) Starting from square one. Eventually, I pushed through. I pulled myself out of.. myself. I learned that I'm not like most people my age. This is where Satan gets me. I look at people around me who are always hanging out on the weekends, and I see my ward doing so well with bonding. And I sometimes feel an intense longing. Satan whispers that I don't belong. That I don't fit in. They don't understand me, that they think I'm boring.
I have to remind myself that it's okay. It's okay to be different. I'm a lot more serious by nature. I'm not that person that will ask what's going on this weekend, in hopes to be invited to the party. I won't ask you to sit by me in church. I won't ask for a ride (unless it's 2 am, and walking home would be dumb and unsafe.) I'm not that girl that will invite herself into a conversation. In all honesty, I don't really enjoy parties. I like small groups. Movie nights, game nights. I'm all in for those (and will shamelessly invite myself over for those!)

And again, I'm surprised by how much Satan must believe in me, because really? I'm not that awesome. I can time a joke (sometimes) and am a formidable foe when it comes to prank wars. I feel like I don't give extremely lame hugs. (Need a hug? I've got those!) and once I'm really comfortable around you, you'll probably see shenanigans and silliness.

 In all honesty, I worry about the future. If Satan is trying this hard now to break me, what will the future hold? My mission is either going to make me, or break me. Yikes!

I've learned some pretty great things though,
Up until recently, I didn't see any kind of dating or marriage in my future. Partially because the drama of it all is way beyond me. I don't dig drama. But the other part because I really suck at trusting people.  No really, like all people. It wasn't until January of this year that I really entertained the idea of trusting God. And if you can't trust Him, there literally is nobody you can trust. Then I went to the Temple and got to help with sealing families together for time and all eternity. (That caused a talk-of-shame with the Big guy that went something like this.
Me: "Okay, okay. I get it. This is part of the plan. I have to be obedient. I guess I COULD get married... eventually.."
*zap, zap, zap, zap, zap* (I felt like I was being tased. My heart was pounding so hard.)
 Me: Okay! I got it! I take it all back. I'll get married (mumble, mumble, after the mission) It's possible!)

It's funny, I really don't have these insecurities anymore. They were a huge part of my past, but now? I'm okay with who I am. And the aspects that I don't like, I'm constantly working on changing. I am okay with being a more serious and introspective person. I am okay with not being a partier. So why am I being hit with pangs of sadness when I find out that I've been stood up for plans, or that I was not invited to a party? Because Satan believes in me more then I do.

In other news, the best conversation I've had in a while:
"Whatever, Jesus would've had a kindle if he couldve. Prolly an Iphone too."
"As a perfect texter, would He use proper grammar?"
"And if it's good enough for jesus, why wouldn't it be good enough for you?? You should really talk to someone about this!"
 "Hahaha, that would settle the great Android vs Iphone debate. 'Iphone, the brand Jesus would use!'"

Anyhow, wizarding world of the world wide web. Happy Memorial Day weekend. Don't forget to remember our Vets and service people; they give up a lot, to fight for us and our freedoms. (PS. Don't spend an hour youtube-ing surprise military reunions, unless you want to cry. If you want to cry and you just can't force the tears out. Go watch.)

Thank you Veterans. Thank you active service people. Thank you for giving up YOUR time, your families and your lives, so that I can enjoy mine. Your deeds are not forgotten.

24 May 2013

After all we can do

"After All We Can Do”
Robbie Pierce
I had been in that hole for a very long time—
In the dark and the damp, in the cold and the slime.
The shaft was above me; I saw it quite clear,
But there’s no way I ever could reach it from here.
I could not remember the world way up there,
So I lost every hope and gave in to despair.
I knew nothing but darkness, the floor, and the wall.
Then from off in the distance I heard someone call:
“Get up! Get ready! There’s nothing the matter!
Take rocks and take sticks and build up a fine ladder!”
This was a thought that had not crossed my mind,
But I started to stack all the stones I could find.
When I ran out of stones, then old sticks were my goal,
For some way or another I’d climb from that hole.
I soon had a ladder that stood very tall,
And I thought, “I’ll soon leave this place once and for all!”
I climbed up my ladder, a difficult chore,
For from lifting those boulders, my shoulders were sore.
I climbed up the ladder, but soon had to stop,
For my ladder stopped short, some ten feet from the top.
I went back down my ladder and felt all around,
But there were no more boulders nor sticks to be found.
I sat down in the darkness and started to cry.
I’d done all I could do and I gave my best try.
But in spite of my work, in this hole I must die.
And all I could do was to sit and think, “Why?”
Was my ladder to short? Was my hole much too deep?
Then from way up on high came a voice: “Do not weep.”
And then faith, hope, and love entered into my chest
As the voice calmly told me that I’d done my best.
He said, “You have worked hard, and your labor’s been rough,
But the ladder you’ve built is at last tall enough.
So do not despair; there is reason to hope,
Just climb up your ladder; I’ll throw down my rope.”
I climbed up my ladder, then climbed up the cord.
When I got to the top of it, there stood the Lord.
I’ve never been happier; my struggle was done.
I blinked in the brightness that came from the Son.
I fell to the ground as His feet I did kiss.
I cried, “Lord, can I ever repay Thee for this?”
He looked all about. There were holes in the ground.
They had people inside, and were seen all around.
There were thousands of holes that were damp, dark and deep.
Then the Lord looked at me, and He said, “feed my sheep,”
And he went on his way to save other lost souls,
So I got right to work, calling down to the holes,
“Get up! Get ready! There is nothing the matter!
Take rocks, and take sticks, and build up a fine ladder!”
It now was my calling to spread the good word,
The most glorious message that man ever heard:
That there’s one who is coming to save one and all,
And we need to be ready when he gives the call.
He’ll pull us all out of the holes that we’re in
And save all our souls from cold death and from sin.
So do not lose faith; there is reason to hope:
Just climb up your ladder; he’ll throw down his rope.

22 May 2013

Saying Goodbye

As the months dwindle, the days count down and the hours melt away the goodbyes keep stacking.

Some for friends who have gone home for the summer, some who are headed elsewhere to find gainful employment for the summer. Some have moved, some are travelling.

I am really really bad at goodbye. I am really bad at articulating all that I want people to know.

Today I found out that a friend of mine was killed in a car accident last night. He leaves behind his daughter and wife. His wife and I were coworkers once upon a time. On top of having to then work, today was a pretty rough day.

Nevertheless, there were several tender mercies that helped to keep me going today:

* Eammonn kindly bought my lunch. Tokyo joe's. Yum.
*EMS week spoils - BBQ at OPS today where we all sat around and man, my ribs hurt from laughing
*Forget-me-nots at station one. They always remind me of the quote from Pres. Uchtdorf, 'This is a paradox of man; that without God, man is nothing. But man is everything to God.' Sometimes I need the reminder that I matter to Him.
*We ran a psych patient to the jail. This guy had caused problems for absolutely everyone else. PD insisted that he remain restrained and hobbled on our pram. Yet he was kind and polite with me the whole time.
* I got a compliment from a coworker that I looked nice. I don't get compliments often and I was feeling really frumpy and awkward.
* I'm finally not overdrawn! That was causing ulcers and sleepless nights! It'll be weeks before I can go grocery shopping, but I'm not about to get hunted down for being overdrawn.
* Eammonn brought me downton abbey to watch over the weekend. Poor guy is stuck with me for 48 hours a week. And he is always doing super kind things for me, taking calls, buying lunch and lending me the discs for my latest addiction TV shows. What an evidence to me that God loves me, to have put such kind hearted and generous people in my life.

Even when my heart is heavy, and all I want is a hug; I am grateful to recognize such big blessings in my day.

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15 May 2013

EMS week.

We find ourselves in the process of preparing for EMS week. This week was designed to remind the public to thank their local EMTs, Paramedics and Fire Fighters. Why?

People already have been asking me why, and let me explain how my day can go. Let me explain to you some calls that I personally have responded to. Or calls that my friends, or my sister have responded to.

I work 12 hour days. My morning starts at 1100 (11 am, for the non military/EMS folk). I start my shift my checking my ambulance. I check for all my equipment. I ensure that I have all things that I need in case YOU have an emergency. In case your mom gets hurt. Or your nephew. Or your daughter.

You may check your desk when you get to work. You may check to make sure that you have a pen, and a back up pen. Paper, stabler, highlighters. If you find yourself in sudden need of a pen and you don't have one, well, you may delay turning in some assignment to your boss. You may need to make the walk of shame to your office mate to borrow her pen. You may need to run to the supply closet to grab one.

If I don't check I ambulance and I don't realize that I don't have oxygen. Someone could die. If I don't have Narcan, someone could successfully overdose, that I could have prevented.

I check out my ambulance, I check to make sure my uniform is clean and ready to meet today. Knowing that today I could be covered in blood, or vomit, or urine or poop. I check to make sure my backup uniform is in my locker.

I need to be well rested for my shift. If you go to work tired, you may accidentally order 10 boxes of staplers, instead of one. If I go to work tired, I can miscalculate a medication and cause injury or death to another human being.

Throughout the twelve hours you have no idea what to expect. You may be called to a roll over accident. Upon arriving to the scene, you see that one person is lying on the pavement, seemingly in tact. When you get closer, you realize that the person is dead. And the person is family.

You could be called to a transfer, a small child going to a specialize children's hospital. Along the way, you find out that this 7 year old boy whose feet and ankles and hands are swollen is going to die. To find out he's going to die because he took too many tylonel pills because he didn't know how to tell someone that his father was beating his mother, and he wanted out. You realize that this child killed himself, and will die an agonizing death.

You could get called to a cat in a tree. When you show up, a 'cat in a tree' turns out to be a drunk college student who is dressed up as Cat in the Hat and his frat brothers put him in a tree whilst he was passed out.

While dropping off at one of the downtown hospitals, you pull the bed out of the back of the ambulance right as a hoodlum across the street begins shooting at the ER bay where you are now parked. Knowing that you are easily in the line of fire, but really having no place to go.

You're pulling overtime at the local marathon, thinking that with this extra pay, you may actually get to pay all your bills this month. And while you're budgeting two bombs explode, killing 3 and injuring more than you can count. Literally body parts are everywhere. Blood, carnage. Injury. so much for an overtime shift.

You may get called to a legal blood draw. Somebody was in an accident where someone was killed. That someone was their wife of 40 years. The driver was drunk. You have to keep him calm enough to draw the blood that will convict him of vehicular homicide.

You may get called to an "injury accident". When you roll on scene, you find a car engine. No car. Just a car engine. You find 3 bodies. Only one is still intact. As you look around to try to find out all the body parts you can and mark them for your report, you note a car seat. There's no child inside. And you know you won't be sleeping tonight.

You go on a psych transfer. A young girl who is suicidal. During the 2 hour drive to a state mental hospital, she tells you that she was sold by her parents into a sex-slave position so that he family's debt could be repaid. When she escaped, her family was murdered.

You could get called to a suicide. you arrive and find your step-dad who called you two days ago and you didn't answer because you were working. Now you know you never can.

You could get called to a CPR in progress. And after working together for 6 weeks, you are a well-oiled team. You do not need to talk, you do not talk. And by the time you leave the hospital, that patient who 25 minutes before was dead, is sitting up and talking. His wife, crying.

You know that when you're out with your family and something happens in the community could pull you away from your family at a moments notice. You know that your 12 hour shift could turn into a 16 hour shift because a riot draws all ambulances in the city to their knees.

These careers are difficult because you are constantly giving and giving and giving of yourself, and you rarely have anything put back into your reserves of emotional strength, your spirit, your compassion and love. And you know that if you don't refill somehow, you can't help those you are charged with caring for that day.

In an office, you may have an accountant you trust more then anyone else. An assistant that you spend most of your day with. On the ambulance, you share a 3foot box for 48 hours a day with one person. You see them more then your husband, more then your wife. They become your "work wife." They see you at your worst. they see you at your best. Even if your personalities clash and you hate them. You learn to trust them with your life. Because your life for 12 hours a day, is in their hands. They are the one beside you in the ghetto of the city, watching your back. They are the one that pull you back and tell you that the body in that room is your step dad. Your partner is the only one who knows what it was like to tell that baby's mother that her son would never breath again, because he was there with you. You find yourselves spending time outside of work, because they get you. They get why this week your just too tired emotionally to do anything big.

We celebrate these workers next week because they do a job that they love. They do this job because they want to help. Really help someone. They want to fix problems in the world.

We celebrate them because they do the work they love, even though they are told that they make $200 a month too much to qualify for food stamps.

So love your EMS personnel next week. They need it. They deserve it. They've earned it.