Monday, April 22, 2013

Making Family-centred Career Decisions

Anyone else suffer from decision-making paralysis?  Jason and I spent over 4 hours last night deliberating about what work I will be doing for the fall.  I was asked to teach again at BCIT which in some ways, I would be insane not to do again.  I loved it all.  I loved the interaction with students, the purposefulness of my evenings, the excitement from going back to the fundamentals of nursing again, and being in the academic world.  Loved it.  Considering it for the future.  But...

Why would I quit now?  

Sure, it pays a little less.  Sure, it takes up many many evenings and created some stress, sure it is only a temporary contract but why on earth would I give it up for shift-work on a unit at the hospital when I'm hating nights and disliking the particular unit I'm on?  

I have been wrestling over this decision for days and it came down to pride and wisdom.  

Pride:  I have to admit, I may like the honour of teaching, the prestige and title of teaching, even more than the actual teaching.  Silly right?  For the first time in my recent career, I felt like I was taking a leap, and felt pride in even being able to do the work of teaching.  I liked that rush of saying "look what I'm up to."  

Pride was getting in the way of wisdom.  For us right now, in this season, I need to work less and get paid more.   Shift work provides that opportunity.  Greater pay, and the work stays at work.  Silas starts pre-school and I want to be there to drop him off and pick him up.  I want to be available for him in this transition.  We also have a hundred other commitments that start up in the fall, I didn't want to go into the fall already being stressed and overwhelmed.

This term has been an incredibly joy-filled ride. I've been exhausted at the end of most days but in a good way.  At home with the boys, at school, at work in the hospital, working late at night for the kids swap ministry at church and on BCIT marking etc.  I loved the fullness and meaningfulness of these crazy 5 months. 

But I'm not sure I have that kind of energy again.  Something's gotta give.  

It's hard to let it go though.  I can't do it all and this season is requiring some personal sacrifice of career aspirations.  But, I'm trusting if this is the direction God wants me to head in, if I'm meant to end up in teaching, He'll resurrect that dream again. Until then...

Shift work.

One thing is for sure though:  even though I don't really like the unit I work on, or the type of nursing I'm doing, I still find incredible joy and pleasure in serving patients in the hospital.  I love nursing for so many reasons and am so thankful I can still do what I really love to do: caring for the sick, the dying, the lonely, the forgotten, the broken, the bleeding, and the hurting.  What an incredible career He's called me into.  Praise God!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Nursing and Home Life

How is it that my nursing job and my job as a mother are so similar and yet, most days, I  find it easier to find contentment in the former?

Both jobs:
-require me to run around all day, with rarely a chance to sit down
-are demanding physically and emotionally
-require me to serve needy, dependent people
-require the cleaning up of bodily excrement
-need me to be at constant beck-and-call
-require an enormous amount of listening, patience, and explaining

Yet at the hospital, I know that my work is compensated, I see progress very quickly as patients recover from surgery, and I come away from work (even on bad days) knowing that this is my calling.  I love serving people.  I love caring for them, helping them, providing cups of cold water and focused attention.

Why, does this not translate in the same way at home?

I wonder if it's partly because my main frustration at home is all the other things that pull me away from my main relationship to the kids.  If I only had the kids, I think I would find great joy in playing, teaching, holding, and mentoring my children.  Yet, groceries need to be unloaded, dinner needs to be made, laundry needs to be folded, the phone answered, the garden weeded, the list goes on.

At the hospital, my only job and focus is patient care.  Oh, there are a hundred million other things that make up the profession of nursing and that's why I love it so much.  (Education, critical thinking, tasks, skills, planning, caring, etc).  But my one job is to run myself into the ground for the betterment of other people who are sick, dying, and in desperate need of care.  Until 7 pm, that is.

Why do I not see my home-life in the same profound way?  

Maybe it's also because most days I feel like I am holding back the tide of utter chaos.  If I don't clean, and organize, and order this little world of my home, my sanity literally explodes.  I feel constantly torn between home maintenance and little lives.  If I favor one, the other is grossly neglected.  I simply cannot do both simultaneously and herein lies my frustration.  How do I focus my main objective on caring for my children, while also keeping up all the other tasks?  

How do you keep up a busy life of ministry, work, children and household upkeep?  
Tips? Tricks? How do you keep it all in balance?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Consumer Paralysis

Anyone ever get this?  I've been reading- a lot.  Reading leads to questions, which leads to confusion, and terror, and more questions.  

For someone who has lived largely unaware and numb to the things I have been buying and consuming, the awakening process is painful and slow.  How have I lived for so long and not asked? Not wondered about how the food I eat affects my health, or the environment, or developing nations, or animals or...? I'm finding myself frequently overwhelmed and am left wondering "where does one begin when thinking about making large scale changes to the way that one consumes?"

I mean, it started with us being dairy-free because of Toby's allergy.  Then I started reading up more about Veganism, that led to questions about soy, then there's fair-trade and my readings about the treatment of women in developing nations etc etc.  We have started the 'shift' towards Veganism and have chosen to eat Vegan 4/7 nights a week.  But we're only just scratching the surface.

I'm generally paralyzed.  There are too many choices and many of the choices lead to social consequences and political statements I'm not yet sure I want to make.  I want to experience more energy, better health, and more awareness about the food choices I am making for my family.  But that doesn't mean I want to arrive at everyone's house with my own Tupperware and make the people we're visiting feel criticized or uneducated about their  food choices.  I want to think more about the reality for most women around the world, and how the everyday choices I make in what I consume affects their livelihood.  But I don't want to just talk about making a difference, I want to actually make a difference.  

I know, one step at a time.  It's a frightening process though.  As I endeavor in one area, it leads to more questions in other areas.  If I'm going to be more aware of how we are eating and what we are eating, won't that lead to questions about the other products I purchase?  Where I donate?  What I wear?  Etc?  I mean, is it hypocritical to be ethical in one area of my life, but not the others?  I've enjoyed reading this guy's transition to Veganism and he had some of the same questions I do.

Mainly, I'm just paralyzed though.  Or half-hazardously making decisions that are disconnected (with the appearance of being informed, but mostly just random).

I feel proud of how far we've already come, but I also feel the weight of all the decisions we've left un-made about many areas of our life.  Where do you research?  Where is the tipping point for when knowledge leads to actual change in habits and behaviors?

I have to say, one of the best choices I've made of late was stopping buying coffee at Starbucks.  In every way possible, it is achieving its purpose.  Not only am I thinking, reading about, and praying for women in other nations on a much more regular basis, but I actually feel the burn of muscles growing and stretching.  

Muscles of self-control, of discomfort, of self-deprivation for the benefit of others.  It's not easy at all, even though such a peripheral decision should be.  Maybe that just reveals how entitled I have convinced myself I am, how selfish, or how caught up in this culture of "deserve" and "more."

When I have a 14 hour work day and I just want to ease the longevity, I struggle with this decision.  "Oh Shannon, don't be legalistic" I tell myself.  But then, the money is already spoken for with IJM.  There's no money left in our budget for 5 dollar coffees.  Then I stop and think about some of the stories I am reading in Half the Sky and think to myself, "I have a home, a loving husband, a peaceful country, good health, children, and riches beyond what many women in this world could ever dream of having.  Instead many are impoverished, gang raped, prostituted, sold, enslaved, and I really am going to keep money from them, so that I can have a coffee?"  

Yeah.  I know.  Guilt shouldn't be the motivator, and I know it's a small change, but it's opening my eyes in big ways.  Praise God.

What do you do with the paralysis of myriads of choices in what and how you consume?  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...