Saturday, March 31, 2007

Once there was a way to get back home...

I've had this lyric in my head for a week. It's from "Golden Slumbers," by the latter day Beatles. It doesn't really remind me of any particular period of my life, but I've always liked it.

I'm not trying to find my way home. I have a home, for which I'm thankful. I have a hometown about 25 miles from here. I'm blessed to have family living there. I'm extremely blessed to still have two grandparents living, & even more blessed that both have their minds.

In my last post I talked about how many hours I've spent looking for answers. Most of my questions have been about holistic health, & my pursuit of a career in alternative medicine. Last time I said I didn't exactly know how that pursuit began. It truly IS hard to pinpoint. It has been a ten-year journey.

When I worked at the VA hospital in the mid '90's, I discovered a health-food store not too far off my daily commute. I'd never taken an interest in anything like that before. I did know that I needed a change. I was overweight, overtired, with two small kids & a husband, who, like me, was overweight & overtired. I didn't hate my job, but I hated driving 30 miles from home & leaving my kids. I often wished for a different line of work closer to home or with better hours, but I really didn't hate my job.

I had terrible problems with PMS. At the health-food store, I found some multi-vitamins that I really liked, but I didn't know what was in them or why they seemed to help so much. I gave up caffeine, and followed the Weigh Down Workshop diet - eat only when hungry, stop at full, not a bite otherwise. I lost 25 pounds or so, which I gained back when I started another job, closer to home, where my work hours were different & I never knew if I'd get a break to eat. I ended up having a hysterectomy, which helped me get the weight off (just so I could gain it again later, twice, to be exact). I got rid of PMS too...well, now when I'm moody I don't really know if it's "that time" or not.

In that job, I worked part-time, & being used to bringing home a lot more money, I searched for additional employment. I didn't consider any sort of holistic health career. I worked a couple of weeks for a card company, got some contract work copying census records & other historical documents, & filled in at another hospital sometimes. I liked that so well I did it for a year after I left that uncertain job. After a year of having to be a different place almost every day, I took a part-time job in one of the hospitals where I was filling in.

I'd ALWAYS wanted to work at that hospital, so I was thrilled to be there permanently. It wasn't always perfect but I had a lot of emotional investment there. Even still, during those years I found myself looking for something else. I think, unconsciously, I was looking for an opportunity to grow in my career. I knew that God could work through me. I didn't always feel like my job would LET me experience God working through me. Often we were so busy I felt like I was chasing my tail. But every now & then I would get a taste of that awesome feeling.

One day I had a patient who I knew vaguely through her sister, a former neighbor. She had cancer, & it was very advanced. I knew she had strong faith in God. I knew she believed she could be healed & live a totally cancer-free life. I found myself praying silently that God would heal her body. I felt a deep faith & peace, & I knew God would hold this lady in His palm. I didn't know if she would experience a complete physical healing on earth, but I knew He would take care of her. Well, I never saw her again. She lived another 18 months or so, then I heard that she passed on to a new, cancer-free life.

Another day, & I think it was just after that experience, I had this really old, sick, pitiful little man as a patient. His mind was gone, & I really don't know why we were scanning him. He must've been having a lot of pain & his doctors were probably trying to figure out if they could radiate him or something to help. I don't remember for sure. Anyway, he was a wiggler. I don't know if he was hurting so bad he had to move, or if he just couldn't remember to be still. He wasn't telling us. The only words he uttered were asking for 2 or 3 different women. I assumed they were his daughters, or maybe one was his wife. I would tell him that he'd see her soon, once the test was done. Now over the years, I've had a lot of patients like that, but this one stuck out because he was ever-so-slightly more still when I held his feet & sang along with the radio.

My favorite TV show during those years was "Six Feet Under." The idea of becoming a shiatsu massage therapist, like Brenda, appealed to me. It was cool. I wanted to do something altogether different. I didn't want to leave my job, though, I just wanted to bring something different to it. When we went to Gulf Shores on vacation, I spent my mornings visiting the health-food store across the street. I wanted to learn everything I could. I also bought my first pair of Birkenstocks. (My supervisor had recommended them for years.) Intrigued by the cute little yoga studio I saw near the beach, I took yoga classes at the Y. It was a period of much searching for ways to incorporate inner peace into my work life. There wasn't usually much peace there at all.

Even so, I wasn't looking for another job when one found me. For 2.5 years, I tried to balance both jobs on a part-time basis. Meanwhile, I continued searching for another way to make money. I was really trying to get out of the old job because I had a hard time balancing the two jobs together. Some weeks I would barely make enough to get by. Other weeks were physically too demanding. Still more weeks were mentally and emotionally challenging as well. I tried selling Avon. They had a lot of "wellness" products. And, as I've mentioned before, I took a course in nutrition, one in reflexology, & tried to get certified as a yoga instructor. I had a hard time with that. Having done yoga for exercise, I found it to be beneficial. I love God, & I used those quiet moments as a way to meditate on Him. But sometimes I have had my doubts - is it something a Christian should do? So more searching went on. My belly & behind got bigger. So we're up to last week's post now.

This post is really too long. So I'm going to stop here & write more on the next post.

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