I was out pacing the hospital because it was a quiet day, and I needed to get my steps in to neutralize the effect of eating 1/2 of a caramel fudge brownie instead of 1/4 at the cancer conference lunch.
My mind was churning as I crossed the second floor walk way and took the stairs to the fourth floor walkway.
It’s not just the wedding plans and strategies, like working on our guest list and wishing we could invite everyone. It’s not just trying to decide which house we should live in, or where we should put our energies. It’s not just the struggle to find venues and the disappointment of not being able to rent the beautiful church by the hospital, despite a lot of really good contacts.
It’s been almost 4 years since I worked in heart surgery, since I’ve been walking up to patients beds and saying, “Hi, my name is Katrina. I’m the nurse that works with the heart surgeons.”
Those days are coming to an end.
A couple of weeks ago, I told my supervisor I would work through Thanksgiving, that I am getting married on December 2, and that I don’t know what I’m doing after that.
And suddenly whenever I slide my badge through the badge reader to let myself onto an elevator or through a door, I realize that, depending what I do next, my identity as a hospital employee could soon be gone. When I race up and down the mismatching stairwells with tread from the 1970s, I realize how, in the last 3 1/2 years I have learned to navigate around the entire hospital. It’s almost impossible for me to get lost anywhere now, since my job has been one of those that is not defined by a particular floor. (Although just today I took an unfamiliar staircase and found myself a few feet from the morgue!)
When I press the buttons on keypads to locked doors, the muscle memory comforts me. I am refreshed by familiarity, by routine, by stability. And suddenly, those things are evaporating. My identity as “the nurse that works in heart surgery” is fading.
And worst of all is the question, “So where are you going?” Because no sane American quits a job without getting another one first.
I second-guessed my decision to Marnell, and some other trusted friends. I think you’re doing the right thing, they all told me.
So, as I walked off the caramel brownie, I stopped on the landing between the third and fourth floors. I paused and looked out the floor-to-ceiling window at the tops of the structures below, dripping with autumn rain. Career questions, wedding questions….so much change!
“You don’t,” I felt the answer instantly, as clearly as if I had touched a bare wire.
My eyes filled with tears, as drippy as the drops on the hospital structures below.
You don’t have to know.
And then, In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct thy paths.
When I was younger I remember hearing older people say how important it is to memorize Scripture as a child. When you are older, they would say, a verse will come back to you just at the right moment. Things like that.
Apparently, I’m older.
It’s funny how one word from God can quiet and the heart. It’s shocking how quickly God answers sometimes. It’s hard to describe the lightning speed of the still small voice, almost arriving before the question has been asked.
I might be wrong but I don’t think God always answers prayers immediately. When He does… when the answer flashes at the speed of light… a healing balm settles on the myocardium of the heart.
(I’m sorry, forgive me for using a trade word that I may never need to use again.)
I believe God will show me what to do next.
In fact, let me tell you about a little gift from God just this afternoon regarding our wedding plans.
You know that church I really wanted to get married in, by the hospital? Just today, a former heart surgery patient of mine, a friend with a complex life story, took us to see his church. We love it, and he thinks it is available for December 2. But it’s what my former patient said to me, that makes me feel touched by the hand of God.
“You know that church by the hospital?” he asked. “This one is practically the same design.”
“Really?” I said. “I wanted to get married there. So this one is similar?”
Isn’t it such a relief that God cares so much about the tiniest little details? And that He’s really good at arranging things? And that he always knows what’s best even when it is most definitely not evident?
There is no reason to doubt that he will show me where to work next. He is the master of solving complications, the “Turner of things meant for evil into things meant for good”, and the author of direction as we acknowledge him in all our ways.