When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a school teacher. Much to the dismay of my little friends, I always wanted to play school. My bedroom became my classroom. My closet doors became my chalk board.
Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always the same. I never wavered, an elementary school teacher. I had a lot of great teacher role models growing up. But, my inspiration was actually two specific teachers … my 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Govan and my 4th grade teacher Mrs. Veazey. They were just the best!
After I graduated from high school, I started to pursue that dream at a local community college.
However, with the birth of my first son something changed. I went to class as normal one day and came home enrolled in the nursing program. I didn’t think about it for weeks and then wake up that morning knowing that I was going to change career paths. It was a spur of the moment decision. My husband was undoubtedly shocked. I had never before mentioned being a nurse. Of course, he wanted to know what happened.
My husband and I skipped a couple of our birthing classes when I was pregnant. They honestly were boring! My delivery was good. I had an awesome nurse, MaryAnne. (I would later go on to work with her in the OB Department.) I didn’t get an epidural. They kept my baby in the nursery unless I was feeding him. I went home the next day. Nothing truly spectacular in as far as completely life changing in regards to my career. (Yes, of course my baby was one of the most wonderful, life changing events!)
I didn’t really have an answer for him as to why. But, how it happened, I could answer …
After my classes were done for the day, I went on a whim to the nursing building. (Which, for anyone that does know me, is so totally out of character for me!) I was told there was about a 2 year wait to get into the program. But! That was the key word there! But, the nursing school director just so happened to have an opening to see me right then. I was going to leave and think about it all. But, it was now or never. I spoke with her. I cannot even remember what I said. Her response to me was something like this … one opening, must decide today. I was in.
26 years later, I look back on that day and wonder if it was the right decision. Where would I be today if I had not gone over to the nursing department at that very moment? Was this God’s plan all along? Would I be happier being a teacher? Of course, there are no do-overs.
After all of this time as a nurse, I do feel that I was led … even if I did not realize it at the time. Each and every time that I felt like I could not go on for even one minute longer, God has placed someone in my path to give me the strength to keep going.
I am currently not working. My choice to quit but for reasons that I felt at the time were out of my control.
As I am awaiting to be led to my new career path, I decided to volunteer. (Which is what this was supposed to be about all along, it just took me an entire post to get here.) I have always had a strong desire to be of help to others. Since I am not working, this part of me has been a little stifled. I have been looking into volunteer positions for some time, but I just did not feel moved to act … whether out of fear or just pure laziness. I had felt that I would try to help out in one of the local charity thrift stores because this is where my resume is lacking, retail. But, I happened upon information for our local Hospice. Just like acting on my nursing career change whim, I sent her an email and got a good response. So, I met with her. She told me that volunteers were very needed and told me that I could choose the role that I wanted to fill. I was very encouraged and went back for orientation the following week. This is where it gets mucky for me. In my orientation, she told me about how wonderful everyone there was multiple times. She was in fact very friendly and displayed her desire to help on multiple occasions to multiple people while I was there. (That’s a lot of multiples!) And, one social worker seemed to be very nice & friendly. But, out of everyone that I came across in those two days, no one else displayed any of those wonderful qualities that she boasted about them having. As a matter of fact, most people ignored me even after being introduced. I did not feel welcomed. I did not feel wanted.
My other issue with volunteering in this capacity is that my role was not to be a nurse, but to only be a companion. She reiterated that I was not to do any hands on care. I was to sit and listen. Could I separate myself from being a caregiver? Could I just sit and listen?
Before I left, she told me she only had one office shift … basically take it or leave it. And, they expected me to do one shift at someone’s home every week. I tried home health nursing … it wasn’t my cup of tea. The hospice house that I originally wanted to help in was just extra that I could do if I wanted and if they needed my help that day. Those choices I thought I had were then removed.
When I went home, I discussed the day with my husband. He tries to be very supportive of whatever I want to do. But, he is very opposed to me going to people’s homes that I do not know. This is a crazy world. But, he also has insight into my personality, my issues. He knows that I do still have some unresolved grief from losing our daughter to stillbirth 22 years ago. He also knows that I am the same person that avoids funerals at all cost. I joke that I will not even be attending my own funeral. Bad joke, I know! He worries that I would be putting myself into a position that I am not ready to deal with.
I honestly knew that after my tour, I would most likely not be back. This saddens me. I really felt like I was led there. But, it is not what I had envisioned. What is it that I was looking for? Is this God’s plan for me? Am I being hasty in my decision to not give it a try? How do you know?