When I was 25 years old, I took a job downtown Portland Oregon. I was a receptionist for a wealthy businessman on the 40th floor of a high rise. When I got the job my mom took me shopping and bought me a beautiful blue pant suit. It was gorgeous, flattering, expensive and uncomfortable. In fact, everything about my downtown job was uncomfortable for me; the city, the white collar culture, the traffic. But I stuck with it despite all that.
I’m glad I did, because that wealthy businessman paid me a lot of money to answer his phone. I saved most of it. A few months later when my dad was injured on the job, I was able to move home and help my parents without being a burden. Shortly after moving home I was hired at the church where I served for the next eight years, privileged to be living out some of my life long dreams and calling. And shortly after being hired at the church, I met Shane. That uncomfortable situation ended up being a stepping stone for me.
It’s a funny feeling to look over your shoulder and remember what life used to look like compared to what it looks like now. Or rather, remembering what you used to be compared to who you are today.
On Monday I was with Georgie at the Barbara Davis Center for Juvenile Diabetes (BDC) for several hours. He had his three month appointment. After hugs and reassurances from our angel sister (see http://melodiesther.com/2014/05/19/our-needs-are-met-ahead-of-time-part-3/ if you haven’t read about her yet), we began with his nurse who is a young man with T1D as well. I needed to talk with him about many things. Shots that cause bleeding, checking nighttime lows, the timing of blood sugar tests, lotion that might help with the scarring on his fingertips, food that causes spikes, I also needed to order his insulin pump. But before the pump could be ordered, I had to meet with a dietician first. She told me about the classes we would be required to attend, along with submitting food logs with carb counting.
When the dietician left, I requested to meet with a social worker to discuss Georgie’s behavior since diagnosis. Within minutes I was trying not to cry as I described how he tries to hurt himself and often uses the phrase, “It’s all my fault.” With a few well placed questions, she had Georgie opened up and talking. One thing he shared was that he believed he would grow out of this disease. My heart shattered into pieces as the social worker said, “George, you can’t grow out of Diabetes.” George looked confused and then replied, “No, but God can heal me.” I gave up trying to be strong and reached for more Kleenex.
Finally later as we finished up with the nurse, he mentioned that he had met with a team of doctors earlier in the day. They were brainstorming ways to help care for a single mother of a newly diagnosed 24 month old. She also has nine month old twins. I simply cannot imagine.
That is where the memory of my new blue pant suit comes in. As the nurse described the neediness of this family, years of ministry and counseling kicked in and I wanted to help. But suddenly I had a flashback to being in a skyscraper in downtown Portland, surrounded by the unfamiliar, the uncomfortable. And I’m wearing a blue pant suit. With heels. So.Not.Me. What could I possibly offer this little family?? I still don’t understand many aspects to managing Georgie’s diabetes. Who am I to think I can come alongside someone else and offer help?
Unless this uncomfortable, unfamiliar path I’m on is leading me straight into God’s purposes. Maybe this path somehow joins my past experiences with future ministry. I’m slowly but surely embracing the fact that this state of being uncomfortable can be a stepping stone. My perspective on life, parenthood, marriage, Theology…all of it has been impacted. Maybe somehow this new change in me can merge with the old and I can start moving forward into a whole new mission field.
A mission field with sweet children, needy families and a disease that brings us all together.
After about five hours of appointments on Monday, I was exhausted. I was also lost in thought as I considered the blue pant suit and what it means to embrace being uncomfortable. But my little boy who never ceases to amaze me, came bounding up to me and shouted joyfully, “I love this diabetes day!!!”
With tears in my eyes and hope in my heart, I hugged him closer than ever. And made a note to call the nurse and volunteer to help.