How are you feeling? Tired? Have you been stuck in a sense of perpetual exhaustion for most of this year like me? As if nursing was not hard enough before, many of us have worked through a global pandemic, our shoulders gradually slumping from the weight of the broken hearts we carry. Even still, many of us continue to stretch to fill the staff shortages as we shuffle onwards towards winter. No wonder we feel tired, or angry or numb or however, you may feel.
Nonetheless, how do we change the overwhelming narrative pouring out of our hearts from one of pain, frustration or desperation to one of hope and compassion?
How do we break this cycle of fatigue littered with resentment, apathy or misdirection? How do we find the motivation to go above and beyond to help our patients feel comfortable and safe in their time of vulnerability again? How do we resist the temptation to snap at that family member who has asked for the fourth time 'how long till the doctor?'. Instead, how do you look them in the eye, take in a deep breath, and breathe out grace? Something that once came so naturally takes more effort now in your fragile state.
What do we do with these feelings? We acknowledge them, and we take them to the rock that is higher than us.
Psalm 61:1-2 says: Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint;Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
The passage goes on to describe God as our refuge and a strong tower that brings my heart comfort because it reminds me that there is one higher than I. When my heart is weary and overwhelmed, I remember I have a God who hears my cry. God is our refuge and rock to whom we can take all our complaints. We do not have to feel strong enough to carry it all.
Be led to the rock that is higher than you, and let your burdens roll off your shoulders into God's very capable hands. He is El Roi: the God who sees. He knows your name. He knows your story. He knows each disappointment engraved on your heart because he has your name engraved on the palms of his hand. Those same hands are spread open to embrace you today. My prayer is that we will each be led to the rock that is higher than us and let our Heavenly Father saturate our souls with his love there.
Onahi Idikwu is a paediatric and neonatal nurse in London