Life of the Unemployed, Part 2

I went back to read some of my old posts and realized that quite a bit has changed since I last posted about my unemployment.  Well, at least some things have changed, and some things haven’t:

1.  I’m still unemployed (or in between jobs, as I’ve learned to say).
But at this point, I am definitely more at peace with it and with the circumstances that led me to it in the first place.  I think that my identity used to be completely wrapped up in working and in being a surgeon.  But God took it away to show me that my identity is in Him, in being His child.  And then after that struggle, it took me awhile to realize that God wanted me to just be with Him, instead of always asking for answers or solutions or a life plan.  Hard to grasp, and I am still learning.

2.  I’m a bit burned out on crocheting since Christmas, but I still do a lot of cooking and baking. 🙂  I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of that!  I just made my first tart, a raspberry almond pear tart.  It was not photo-worthy, but it tasted pretty good.

3.  I’m definitely NOT as regular about going to the gym.  Back in October there was something wrong with my knee so I cut out Zumba and kickboxing and stuck to low-impact workouts like yoga, Pilates, and walking on the treadmill.  And since the treadmill is so boring, I got out of the habit of going every day.  But I still go a couple times per week, which is better than nothing I guess.

4.  I started taking some classes, which has been great.  Currently, I’m taking an online Spiritual Formation class through my church and a basic drawing class through a community program.  I’m also excited to start my Italian pastry course in a few weeks and a cupcake decorating class in a month!

5.  I have been helping my pastor plan a series of retreats for Vineyard pastors in the northeast region, from Philadelphia to Maine.  Anyone who knows me knows that I love planning getaways, looking at vacation packages, and investigating all of the options and finding a good deal for a nice place.  So this little project fits well into things that I already enjoy doing.  It has been a lot of work, with scouring the internet and making dozens of phone calls and sending out even more emails, but it makes me happy to have a small part in helping pastors get some rest.

So, that’s my life right now.  We are still in limbo with the job situation, but despite that, I feel completely at peace and very content 🙂

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Thank Your Doctor

First of all, thank you so much to those of you who reached out to me during my sadness last week.  I appreciate your thoughts and prayers more than you know.  Husband and I are so beyond blessed to have friends like you!

So, on to my reason for posting:
Earlier this week, I went to my doctor’s office for a followup.  I brought them a plate of chocolate chip cookies because (1) it’s almost Valentine’s Day and I wanted an excuse to put pink M&Ms in something, and (2) I was so grateful for the care given to me and just how NICE everyone has been, from the front desk people to the nurses, techs, and doctors.

chocolate chip cookiesDelicious, soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies with dark chocolate M&Ms stuck on top. Recipe here if you would like to bake some too 🙂

It struck me how such a small gesture surprised them so much.  The nurse came in and gave me a huge hug (as my vitals were being taken, haha).  My doctor thanked me profusely and said, “All of the staff are just so excited because all we ever hear are complaints.”

Does anyone else think that this is just sad??

Yes, this is our job as physicians, it’s what we signed up for, and most of us did not choose this field because we want people to fall over in gratitude all the time.  But as with any line of work, a little bit of appreciation goes along way.  During residency, being thanked by a patient or family member would change the whole tone of my day.  I found that I could look beyond the exhaustion, cynicism, stress, and crazy busyness and just feel happy and thankful to be doing what I was doing.

So, consider taking the time to thank your doctor (or PA, NP, therapist, etc.) the next time you go in for a visit.  Write a note or bake some brownies or whatever.  As you show your appreciation, you may help turn a discouraging, frustrating, or overwhelming day into a good one 🙂

Choosing Joy

This past week has been a pretty difficult one for me and husband.  Maybe I’ll be able to talk about it in more detail someday, but not now. Anyways, I’m sure all of you have also gone through trying periods in your life – where you’ve felt deep insecurity about your work or school or relationships, suffered a loss, felt paralyzed and fearful, been lonely or hopeless, felt completely overwhelmed, etc.

When I was feeling really lonely and discouraged during my first semester of med school, a friend (John Lee, for those of you who knew him) shared some words with me about joy that I haven’t forgotten.  Here is the original email, and I hope that you can be encouraged by it as I have been over the years:

“The hard thing about ‘joy’ is that it’s often more of a choice than a feeling, and it can exist without the feelings in some strange way.  But, man, there are times when you wish the feelings of joy would also accompany the choice of joy.  No matter what happens, Eleasa, I hope you continue to choose joy when feelings and circumstances urge you to do otherwise. Happiness reacts to temporary events.  Joy remembers things that are permanent and do not change — His love for us experienced through His Word, His Spirit, and His people.  So I hope you choose to remember the things that last forever.  I will pray that you choose joy.”

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Cor 4:16-18