Grace to Go Around

I work in a crazy place.

I’ve been a nurse now for about 4 years and in that time I have experienced beautiful highs and devastating lows.  There are days when I leave the hospital after a long shift and am struck by just how much human suffering that one building can contain.

Listen, I want to be positive here.  I want to be able to provide encouragement and hope.  The thing is, the varieties of hurt are just too much for me to ignore sometimes.  I’m feeling lost and I want to know…where is God?  How do find Him (or Her, or it)?  Where should I look and how do I open myself to receiving grace when I need it most?

If you were to ask me over a cup of sweet coffee what my thoughts are on the divine, I would tell you this.  I believe it is everywhere.  I believe it can be found in the smallest lilac petal and in rocks that are lightyears away.  I would say that God is there in the love we have for each other but also in war and famine and displacement.  These are things that I really believe must be true because they are the only way the world makes sense.

But yesterday, as I sat ugly-crying in my car after work I honestly couldn’t feel the truth in any of that.  My heart could not feel what my mind was trying to tell it.  I felt so in need of divine grace but I couldn’t feel it anywhere.  I tried asking for it but nothing came.

I wanted grace not just for myself but also for the patients I had cared for that week.  I tried to ask for it but found my well of compassion was dry.  I felt that work had taken everything from me and given nothing back.  I was completely empty.

I had nothing more to give the confused but verbally abusive patient who had made my life a living hell for a full 12 hours.  Or to the drug addict who managed to make me feel like a bad person when I asked him whether he was using drugs in his hospital room (spoiler alert: he was).  I didn’t even have anything to give the very sweet cancer patient who was waiting for some crucial MRI results and just wanted his physical pain to lessen.

I had nothing more to give anyone and all I wanted was for God to give me some support and hope.

But I felt nothing.

So, if there is enough grace to go around as I really believe there is, how to I find it?  How can I really believe in abundance when I reach the limit of what I have to offer?

I would love to have a concrete answer to this question.  Or a checklist of actionable items.  I love checklists.  But I don’t think that’s how these big problems work.  I just hope that someday I understand how they do.


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