When is their surgery?

Lately, I have been on my surgery rotation for medical school.

This is a unique rotation because I am given the opportunity to observe many different procedures. Sometimes I can even “scrub in”, which is medical jargon for assisting the surgeon.

At the start of my day, I go to the locker room and don my scrubs for the day. I grab a giant hairnet and throw it over my beautiful locks. Then I put covers over my shoes to protect them from any blood spills. I walk out of the changing room and head for the surgical waiting area.

The surgical waiting area is unique because this is where the patients are brought minutes before the surgery. They are wheeled in on their gurney and are met with the anesthesiologist and nurses who discuss the procedure for them. They are given an IV which will be for the medication used to put them asleep.

Before the surgeon comes in there is a waiting period where the patient is all alone. 

They sit there knowing, in just a few minutes, they will be having a very invasive procedure.

__________________________

Today, these experiences had me thinking.

How easy it is to remain cold in these settings.

When I am in the surgical waiting area, I usually am thinking about how tired I am or how I wish I had breakfast.

When I am in the surgical waiting room, I usually am thinking about what I am going to do after the procedure. How long will it take? Will the surgeon ask me any questions?

I am so quick to forget the facts of those around me.

The fact that the woman beside me barely speaks English and does not understand what is going on around her. 

The fact that the patient waiting for a very painful spine procedure looks filled with terror and is shivering. 

The fact that the patient to my right had an invasive procedure many times before and was overwhelmed with despair. 

These situations, though happening in a surgical waiting room, are very applicable to life itself. Those around us are in the midst of very desperate situations. Instead of putting ourselves in their situations and allow it to drive us to act for their betterment, we are quick to shy away.

We jump to turn inside ourselves instead of allowing ourselves to be an agent of change for our neighbor.

I believe this is all driven by fear. A fear response that pushes us to remain safe, comfortable, and cozy.

This week I challenge you to look for those around you that may be in their own surgical waiting room. Do not allow the fear of saying the wrong thing or putting yourself out there prevent you from being a light in a dark place.

Maybe someone is waiting for a test grade to come back in a class they are struggling with?

Maybe someone is having trouble finding a job after being laid off?

Maybe someone is just having a really bad day? 

Allow the shell society has created around yourself to slowly melt away.

Empathize and act.

You do not have to feel anything.

You do not have to feel like you are going to change the world.

It doesn’t take much to make a difference in someone’s life.

All you really need to do is notice. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Organist with One Arm

This morning I was sitting in Church when the music started.

This means that the priest is coming into the Church and the Mass is starting.

I never usually notice the music.

It provides a beautiful backdrop to the worship, but because it does not change much it is not something my mind wanders towards.

Today as the music was playing, I noticed the organist had a cast on her left arm.

She was playing with only her right hand.

Immediately, I started to notice the music.

I noticed that it sounded exactly the same. No note was missed. Everything was perfect.

For some reason, because she was only using one hand, it made me appreciate the music so much more.

 

I think this holds true to life in many ways.

Individuals that conquer through the struggle and still continue to use their gifts and talents are extremely admirable.

The one-arm organist proved a point today.

No matter the struggle, if you are using your gifts for the glory of God, nothing can stop you.

The harder the struggle the greater the final product.

Friends, I encourage you to look at the struggle placed before you today. Use your gifts anyway regardless of what you face.

Be like the one-armed organist who, even with a cast on, continued to use her gift for God’s glory.

 

The mind spins, the cross stands firm.

The Carthusian religious order’s motto goes something like this…

As the world spins, the cross stands firm.

Today I am going to change it up a bit.

As your mind spins, the cross stands firm. 

When everything does not make sense.

When you feel like the word confused doesn’t even do it justice.

When you feel like you keep getting hit by waves and can’t come up for air.

When anxiety, depression, fear, and discouragement attack you from all sides.

The cross stands firm.

As Christians, we must lean on this deep and powerful truth.

God is God and we are not.

God is our light and our guide.

In times of deep confusion and fear, we must listen to the still small voice and trust.

St. Pio said,

The most beautiful act of faith is the one made in darkness, in sacrifice, and with extreme effort.

You may feel lost right now. You may feel forgotten by God. However, you must realize that in this darkness is where you will find growth. In this uncertainty, you will grow in virtue and character. Do not waste this chance to be who God made you to be.

Your mind may be spinning a thousand miles an hour.

But friends, the cross stands firm. Unshaken.

Fix your eyes on Him who waits eagerly.

The confusion is a time where your faith will grow quicker and quicker.

All you must do is give the effort.

Faith is not Feelings

Yesterday I read the quote,

“It wasn’t nails that held Jesus to the cross but love.”

The truth is: God loves you with an infinite love. He died for you. He died for you. Let me repeat that: God died for you.

Most days the truth is hard to swallow. We may strive in our hearts to believe the truth of the Gospels, yet a lot of the time you may feel nothing. 

It’s ok to not feel a flutter in your chest when you contemplate the love of God.

You do not have to feel in order to believe.

What matters is constant perseverance.

Repeat to yourself the truths that will set you free.

Jesus died for me.

God loves.

I trust in Him.

I will not be afraid.

I will persevere.

I will never give up.

No matter what lies attack you on a daily basis, we must continue to call upon the truth even if it if they feel fake.

I want to remind you today just how much God loves you. It is so great that it is incomprehensible.

Feelings do not equal faith.

Faith is greater than your feelings.

Faith is freedom.

 

 

Microwave Moments

You go into your freezer and pull out that ice cream you have been waiting to eat all day. You grab a spoon from the drawer, open the lid, and dive right into the pint. Yet, the ice cream is as hard as a rock. You keep trying but you are just getting ice cream shavings. So you do the microwave trick.

You take the ice cream and put it in the microwave for ten seconds.

When you take it out it has softened a bit and now you can enjoy it.

Like the ice cream, there are many people whose hearts have hardened by their environment.

You try to talk with them or form relationships with them, yet whenever you try it’s like you are talking to a wall. They are cold. Some people can become quite ruthless.

It may be difficult to be kind towards these people. It takes a big dose of humility and a giant amount of patience. Yet, this is what we are called to do.

When we are kind, loving, patient, generous, caring, etc. towards individuals with a hardened heart it turns into a microwave moment. Though on the outside they may appear cold, a transformation is occurring inside of them. It doesn’t have to be big acts of kindness. Sometimes the smallest acts slip into the cracks of their heart easier.

People may condemn you and laugh at you. They may tell you that said person will never change. They will tell you to just leave them alone and move on.

However, this is not what Christ has called us to do. He has called us to live lives of pure love towards EVERYONE.

So continue to choose to love those with a hardened heart.

You may be their last hope.

Time to eat!

“I know the demons in the room say it’s more than I can chew but now all I hear is the dinner bell.”

-Jon Bellion

In life, the voices of self-doubt are going to swarm us like mosquitos in the summertime. It is inevitable. I remember reading about a saint who said something along the lines of ….the closer you get to God’s plan for your life the more difficult it will become.

The demons all around us want nothing more than for us to fail. They are aiming at destroying our desire to do God’s will. The more we glorify God with our lives the more they are forced to flee.

Confidence in God is our greatest weapon in defeating the evil all around us.

I love the above quote by one of my favorite artists Jon Bellion. #beautifulmind

I think it does a great job reminding each and every one of us that the voices all around us are going to tell us we can’t succeed. The voices are going to keep pecking at us and make us feel afraid.

These voices are not the voice of God.

The voice of God is reminding us that it is time for dinner.

It is time to show up and live the life God intended for us.

It is time to studying hard for school, to sacrifice for loved ones, to feed the homeless, to visit the elderly, to do His will.

We can and we will do these things.

It is time to drown out all the noise and listen for the dinner bell.

Time to eat! 

 

zeal

You have the zeal of God written on your soul.

Every breath is but another chance to dust off your past and begin again.

Life only begins when you take action.

You have a goal buried deep within you.

The only way to reach it is to dig. 

You tell me, “I don’t know where it is buried.”

It doesn’t matter where, all that matters is that you never stop digging.

I want to see your sweat water the tilled dirt beneath your feet.

I want to see callouses on your hands.

I want to see a sun tanned back.

You were not made to be a potted plant, who spreads roots for stability.

Your faith thrives in the unknown. 

Your talents are not yours but His.

The only way to show gratitude is to give them to the world.

Pour yourself out, there is a world that needs many new flowers.

Flowers, that no weather can scorch and no weed can drown out.

Let the zeal sing in your heart like a morning Dove.

Never close its beak.

But uncage the Dove. Allow the change to take place in your mind.

Do not allow the zeal to rest in you, but give it permission to change you.

Every single part of you.

The broken parts and the beautiful parts.

It may hurt.

It may not be easy.

It may sting a bit.

But we aren’t asking for easy.

We are asking for a mission. 

 

 

 

 

He will take care of it.

Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:62

 

Choices are a part of life. They can free us or they can enslave us. Choices can bring us peace or anxiety. What we choose ends up shaping our mind and hearts. Our habits are formed by our minute by minute choices.

At first this seems pretty frightening.

We often ask ourselves, “Why can’t I change my choices, why am I so stuck.?”

The beauty of Christianity rests in the mercy of Jesus Christ.

His mercy overcomes our past choices and allows us to put our hand to the plow and never look back.

Life is very good at making us turn around.

We check everything…. think over all our past mistakes….ruminate on our interior struggles….

Christ tells us that we cannot be fit for the Kingdom of God if we look back, because through this decision we are allowing the fear to become our focus.

By focusing on fear we are paralyzing ourselves. Our God-given gifts cannot be utilized. Instead of doing good we become idle.

If we are to be fit for the Kingdom, we must trust that by focusing on Christ everything will be taken care of.

By no means is this an easy task, but it is a necessary one, if we are to grow closer to holiness.

I encourage you to set your hands on the plow today.

Whatever the plow is for you.

It may be your responsibility as a father or mother, a student, a member of the military, a  priest, a teacher; whatever it is…

Fulfill your obligations with love.

Grip the plow tight until your knuckles turn white.

Strive to glorify God through every minute of your life.

When you feel the temptation to look back in any form.

Move forward and trust that Christ will take care of it.

Because He will.

He will.

He will.

He will.

I am going to keep repeating it until it breaks through the barriers we have set up in our minds.

If we have confidence in Christ miracles will happen. 

If we trust in Christ our lives, though difficult, will have an interior peace. 

If we keep our hands on the plow, we will bring the light of Christ to a very dim world. 

 

Love is the energy

I have yet to find the perfect balance. You know, the balance between just enough caffeine and having my hands turn into cell phones as they vibrate from the tremors.

 

 

I honestly don’t even know why I drink the stuff. Well, for the “energy.” I guess thats one way to see it. Or maybe its just that I’m addicted to the feeling of the warm coffee in the morning.

Energy. Getting things done. Moving forward with work. It’s freaking tough.

Sometimes, life can just get drab. Yes, I like that word “drab.”

In these drab moments it’s hard to pick ourselves up and move forward. It takes so much effort to see the end goal in sight. Our legs become beams of lead and our eyes seem to drift off away from precisely what we need to be doing.

How do I get more energy?

Where is my zeal? 

Why can’t I get this done now?

These are questions I ask myself and I am sure you ask yourself. We get so frustrated in ourselves because the tasks we need to finish are not getting done. Our goals, our future, our responsibilities are in our hands and we are not succeeding. Discouragement comes next. Then maybe a social media break or two or three. It’s a vicious cycle.

This is a common problem I have noticed in my life. It shows it ugly face when I am focused on myself in my tasks. When looking in I have zero energy. Meaning, when My schoolwork, and My tests, and My homework need to get done I lose all the zeal. There is no love in the task. It just feels like a waste of time.

However, when changing the focus, it becomes easier to focus.

This is a simple habit we can develop when studying for exams, doing homework, or really anything.

 

We need to put love into everything we do and the energy will come.

It might be as simple as offering up the pains of your studying for a family member or a friend as a prayer. If you are a healthcare student, it may be thinking about all the patients you will help in the future.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Dorothy Day. It may seem intense at first but really meditate on the truth of it.

“No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.”

Friends, it is time to rid yourself of the lie of discouragement. Focus on the love in the task and offer it up as a prayer. Do not be hopeless, but in all that you do exude zeal.