One conclusion from today's musings: I am not a stellar floor nurse. Good/decent/passable perhaps, but not stellar. Moreover, I don't think it is possible for me to be a stellar floor nurse...and I am honestly rather relieved.
I am not very good at what I like to think of as "trench work." By this I mean things like being a floor nurse, the one providing the service to the patient. Not that I can't do it but rather that I am not exactly well-suited to it.
The only way I can think to explain this in concrete terms is, unfortunately, with a scenario that only those from SPU will understand in any real sense. Let's be honest: I was not a good SMC. Now it does not necessarily follow that I was a bad SMC, but it certainly was not one of my shining moments. However I think (and I'm hoping desperately that I am not totally off-base!) that I was a pretty darn good RHMC. At the very least I can say that it felt much more natural.
The difference lies not so much with the content but with the processes involved; the type of work involved. I thrive in situations that allow me to teach, enable, empower, encourage, mentor, and guide people--and this is key!-- who are motivated, intelligent, passionate, and likely to succeed.
For a long time I thought I just wanted to teach/mentor/guide etc. and that it didn't matter the person on the receiving end. In fact I thought that it was more noble to go to those who were really needy--those with poor situations or few resources and the like. To work in the trenches or on the front lines, so to speak. (This sounds suspiciously like a savior complex: to come bearing a metaphorical light to those in darkness.)
And this is what it means to work in the trenches--to stand in the midst of brokenness and try to assuage it.
But I realized today that I am not good at that. I am too easily frustrated with things beyond my control; I am too easily defeated; I do not have the willpower or the motivation or the drive to stand in the brokenness. And that's ok.
While I don't believe that God is heavily invested in my self-actualization, neither do I think that it does anyone any good (and it might in fact do harm) for me to try to do what He has not created me to do. In a spin on my Foster and Hicks learning, an owl cannot make a very good dam.
My conclusion is this: I should not work in the trenches (aka try to build dams). What I can do, however, is support those who do that kind of work. I can teach, encourage, brainstorm, analyze, problem-solve, mentor, equip, provide emotional support, and see the bigger picture. And that can be my part of mending the brokenness in the world.
What a gift and a blessing it is to finally understand this part of myself! What a struggle it has been with feelings of inadequacy and frustration, and what misery to feel deep ambivalence towards a job that I thought was a calling.
And what then is my calling? I don't know, but I do know that God will open a window--if He hasn't already.