The Things I Can

Got some really great advice from an ER nurse this weekend. This is heavily paraphrased, as I was pretty overwhelmed and don’t remember exactly what she said, but she really helped me a lot.

Nurse: Don’t try to do everything at once. Do one thing at a time.

Me: But sometimes there are too many things. Like right now. My husband is on this side of the ER and my friend is bringing my daughter to the kids’ side. I can’t be in charge of both of those things! Who do I go with? I want to be both places.

Nurse: That’s true. A lot of times it does seem like everything comes at you at once. When that happens you just have do something about the thing you can do something about.

Me: I guess you have a lot of experience with having to prioritize stuff like that, in a high stress environment like this.

Nurse: Yes. I’ve never been through AA or anything, but a lot of times I just say the Serenity prayer anyway, because it’s really helpful when you’re overwhelmed.

Me: Yes! That’s really concrete and helps me a lot. I can’t make my husband ok, and right now he’s drugged and sleeping anyway. So I should go get ready to do the best I can for when my bleeding kiddo gets here.

I would also like to add that I mentioned during that conversation that it must be a tricky part of her job to deal with people who are often at their worst and that she was being really kind and clear and helpful when I was certainly not at my best. 

ER nurses and staff in particular and medical professionals in general, I salute you and thank you for that graciousness.

 

serenity prayer

**I found a lot of these graphics online…and mostly they seemed to favor the serenity, wisdom, and courage. Those are good things, but I’m more about verbs than nouns, solution-wise. A personality thing, I suppose.

 

Just for my own running reference:

Some things I can’t control

~whether or not my husband experiences pain

~whether or not my kids experience pain or sickness

~whether my family and friends (or their kids) experience pain or sickness or even death (oh, it hurts my heart to write that)

~whether other people will assume the best or the worst of my intentions and actions

~what other people learn about who God is because of their suffering

 

Some things I can control

~Learning as much as I can to help my family to live well and pain free

~asking for help when I need it, and accepting help when it’s offered

~cutting myself a lot of slack when I am not at my best

~cutting other people a lot of slack when they are not at their best

~assuming the best of other people’s intentions and actions

~letting other people know when I am not at my best; not so they can cut me slack necessarily (though that is nice sometimes), but so they don’t think that whatever social or relational sins I commit are about them

~what I choose to think about God amid (and because of; or at least taking into account) my own struggles and doubts, and those of the people around me

~Doing the dishes (though if 3/4 of my family is injured or in the ER over the weekend I’m gonna go ahead and give myself at least until Tuesday before I even think about it!)

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6 thoughts on “The Things I Can

  1. The Serenity Prayer has helped me so many times. I keep a copy on the frig in the kitchen, and before I retired, I had a copy posted by my phone so when things were getting out of control (or me out of patience) the prayer helped me “center”. You did a great job at breaking out what you can and can’t control. It is so hard to focus on one thing at a time, but it is often the best way to handle what we need to handle!

  2. So I read your post and i was like “ahh! were they in a car accident?” I was a little relieved when I checked your facebook status and it was “only” the stomach bug. and then I was like, “Oh no. that stomach bug.” We had it here… yeah, it’s awful. like really awful. wish I could be there to help make peppermint tea. Because yeah, you could be in charge of that. But sometimes it’s nice when other people are in charge of things for you.

    • Well, it’s more than just a stomach virus going on, but less than a car crash. And I did just order some peppermint tea! We do have lots of people bringing and helping and caring. Friends have brought me chocolate, tie dye, almond milk for my coffee, dinner, and watched my kids (even in the middle of the night!). It’s good to have a village.

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