Meredith Boggs : Brave enough to do the work I was created to do
It’s what I wanted to do from as early as I can remember. Be a nurse. Be a nurse and a writer. It was the simple in my little kid mind. And so I did. I became a nurse first and I loved it. It’s what I felt deep in my bones that I was created to do. Critical care was my passion and I thought it would be forever.
We married young and had our plan all set. Grad school and career advancements, buying a home in the city we grew up in, a slew of kids. All the things.
I’m sure God thinks our carefully plotted life courses & meticulously crafted plans are amusing and I’m sure he thinks it’s cute when we tell him ‘no.’
Pediatrics; no. China; hell no.
Yet early one January morning we found ourselves sitting shoulder to shoulder on a Boeing 747 en route to Beijing where we would make our home for the next year providing medical and surgical care for the pediatric orphan population.
It seemed wild and felt a little reckless at some points, packing up our home into a 9x13 storage unit, quitting the jobs we currently held, slicing our income into a fraction of what it had been and moving to the other side of the world. But there was a part of it that made perfect sense. We said ‘yes’ to an adventure we could never have dreamed up, one that offered us a space to use our skill set and live out our passions.
We knew the price would be high, we hoped it would be worth it in the end.
The price was high. Higher than we ever imagined. And we surely paid it.
You never foresee yourself making life and death decisions.
You never envision yourself holding a tiny baby as they take their last few breaths.
You never imagine yourself living in that thin space, where heaven and earth intermingle, where the veil that separates the brokenness of this earth and the wholeness of eternity hangs.
I could not have foreseen, could not have envisioned and could not have imagined.
And yet those were the very spaces we found ourselves, the places we lived in every day.
The days were long and the nights were restless.
What I knew to be true, what I had placed my hope in, the foundation I had build my beliefs upon, the work I had dedicated my life to were all called into question.
How can suffering and sovereignty coexist?
How can ones life calling feel so misguided?
How can humanity ever truly have something to hope in?
How can providence possibly be at work?
It was a crash landing, moving back home to Nashville. Trying desperately to keep our heads above water. Feeling the darkness of depression close in. Trying to reset, realign and figure our our next move.
Every ounce of confidence I had in my nursing practice was depleted.
Ever shred of clinical judgement I had acquired felt as though it had been stripped from me.
The skills my hands were created for seemed no longer fitting.
The work I felt called to do seemed like a cruel joke that kept mocking me.
Fake. Imposter. Wannabe.
But I was brave enough to continue doing the work I was created to do.
I was brave enough to pick up my stethoscope and trust the assessment skills I had honed.
I was brave enough to stay at the bedside, where the hurting and dying lay, the bedside at which the grieving family sits.
In the same was that China had a way of splitting our lives in two, my heart was also split in two.
Leaving it open, susceptible and vulnerable.
I wish I could write that is gets easier, but it doesn't.
The price never lowers and in some ways, it feels like the price rises higher and higher with each passing day.
But on the days when I stand in those warm trauma bays, with the eerie silence that pervades after the resuscitation has ended, the metallicy smell of blood that lingers in the air, sweat gathering along my brow and on the small of my back, I feel it deep in my bones that this is the work I was created to do.
I was brave enough to continue doing the work I was created to do and I’m forever grateful for the village that enabled me to.