“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” if you continue to read that piece by Charles Dickens you would think he was still alive today I am certain. Writing about what life was like in modern day America. I feel like, I too, live in the push-pull of these words during the COVID-19 outbreak.
You don’t have to be a nurse, be a mother, be ANYTHING specific to feel the toll of what living during a pandemic feels like. I believe all of us, both friend and foe, feel it to a certain degree. However, yes, I do think that we each have a lens we are looking through at the current state of affairs that is as unique as the role we play in it, and the way we respond to such is an individual responsibility we have to ourselves and the world.

Many people do know me as “the mom with two sets of twins” and then I usually have to add in “and I have a 5th who is the epitome of middle child” as he is sandwiched between the sets. Five children, under 10 years old, that have been lent to be me to raise. To raise into law abiding, societally contributing, God- fearing adults (that is my mission statement; the framework I operate within that shapes my day to day while they remain under my roof). While this parental mantra has not changed, COVID-19 has single handedly reenforced to me my ‘why’. The everyday yes’s and no’s, how we spend our time, the focus of our conversations and the commitment I have to use every moment I have with them under the sun to drive them to such. 

I work in healthcare. I am a registered nurse. I work in the specialty of Emergency Medicine, and currently at our local Express Care facilities. I happen to be in the thick of this pandemic in the most physical sense. Each day when I go to work it is entering the second mission field that has been assigned to me and that is one of serving the sick. However, these days are different. Very different. With each patient interaction I am acutely aware of what I have the potential of being exposed to. That with each touch, each conversation, each encounter I am at an increased risk of being exposed to what is threatening the lives, what has taken lives, of so many. I realize I am volunteering myself to these potentials, for a profession that chose me.
 I have been asked if I am concerned, I have friends who check on me DAILY asking how I feel or if I am afraid. I have even been asked if I have considered changing jobs as the climate of healthcare seems to be one that is rather undesirable at the moment. Asked if I have hesitation about being a single parent electing to be placed in such circumstances without a spouse as my safety net physically, emotionally and even financially as I have had fellow nurses resign from their positions as a result of such concern. Disclaimer: if you are one of those reading these words, I absolutely believe that if you were called away from the profession it was a decision that you made with the best interest of yourself and your circumstances. I commend and respect such and feel you owe NO explanation.) Although some of these questions I meet with conversation, by and large I feel its my behavior that is indicative of my position on the entire circumstance. That I continue to show up. That I will continue to show up. For as many days as I am afforded. For as long as I’m called. My single greatest prayer in this is not to be a “super hero.” Or project a sense of invincibility into the world. Rather, demonstrate my belief that we all have a role to play, as I said before. That no matter how I “feel” about my role, that it is one that has been granted with specificity and my only duty is to fulfill it with all that I have. My second mission field.

Do I have anxiety about what may happen if I became sick? Do I worry about those five little people I refereneced becoming a statistic of those infected despite my effforts to keep myself and my home free of illness? Have I lost sleep about what would happen if this one  income household became a zero income household? Yes. Yes. Yes. I also do not believe it makes my faith any weaker because of such concern.  Yet, as I tell my children,  there is our will and Gods will. Two very different things that happen to work synchronously; should be choose to allow them to. Therefore, a revolving door prayer of mine is for Gods will to influence my free will in such a way that He will be magnified. Do I get it right every time? Heck no! Believe you me, He lets me know very quickly when that is the case. But I try; and for me and mine thats enough.
These are the thoughts that I try and allow to trump the fears.  That when I am stripping down to my birthday suit in my garage after a 12+ hour shift of work, thinking of all that I have been exposed to in that day alone I try and replace the anxious and fearful thoughts with thoughts of gratitude. When I am in the still of the night, when the fear creeps in trying to convince me that I am ‘alone’ it is when I hear the voices of the helpers in my world that unite in the magnitude of a lions roar helping to cast out the lies.

So this is the heart of a nurse. Of a mama. Of a woman in the midst of the chaos and confusion simply trying to do her part. Trying to ‘flatten the curve’ in my time off by staying home, and simultaneously help show mercy and help to those that make up the curve should they find themselves in my care. May we use this time of trial to be refined. Chipping away at things that are unhealthy making room to have those vacancies replaced with truths. With strength. All doing our best, no matter where our mission field is. Recognizing that we are all called to serve, and are fully equipped to do so. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.