Friday, June 24, 2016

Another World

Travel Nursing.

I never honestly thought it would catch on. I like continuity and a home. Traveling and living out of a suitcase is a temporary thrill, but not a lifestyle I thought I would enjoy.

Duke gave me exactly what I wanted. A swift kick in the seat. It reminded me how much I don't know and have yet to learn. Although I have enjoyed the experience, another opportunity presented itself and I find myself in a dream on an island.

It's the most bizarre and surreal experience ever as I never expected it to come true. I am still within driving distance of several large cities, but I am located on an island and working as an ER nurse on an island. One of my dreams is to learn how to surf. The Outer Banks has some of the best surfing on the East Coast.

There were several obstacles in my taking the position. First there was the barn and family that I have come to love and appreciate in the Durham area. I wasn't ready to give up such a wonderful place. Second was the cost of living on an island and knowing whether or not my finances could withstand a move like this. Both were taken care of. Finally I had to find a place to live. A cottage was offered to me and though it is very simple, how much do you actually need when you live at the beach??

Most travel nurses take a week or more of vacation between assignments as it gives them time to recover, visit family, relocate, and settle in to a new location. Because of my dad's wedding and a family reunion, I was unable to take any time. I worked one of my hardest shifts at Duke on a Wednesday night and was orienting to the Outer Banks on Monday. Wednesday night I am assisting forensics, dealing with Bloods and Crips, treating gunshot wounds and Level 1 traumas, and dealing with a psychiatric patient who spit on me, called me obscene names, and threatened to do henious crimes to the females in my family. Monday I am assisting in the removal of a fishook in a finger, listening to a patient explain how he thinks his abdominal pain is due to his recent increase in fishing and holding the pole in the same location on his stomach, and learning how to treat stingray and jellyfish attacks with hot water, vinegar, and meat tenderizer. The contrast was ridiculous.

Being at the beach is incredible. The cottage I am renting has had a few hiccups including getting me super sick from a minor mold outbreak in the shower. I miss the farm and the lack of humans, but we aren't quite in tourist season yet and the place is still pretty quiet. There are several extremely quaint coffee shops which provide perfect places to work. The locals are super friendly and several of my coworkers have offered to help teach me how to surf. There are other options such as Kite boarding in the sound, parasailing off dunes (OBX has some of the biggest dunes in the US), of course boating and fishing, then there it the driving on the beach. I so want to rent a vehicle and drive the entire extent of the islands. The most Northern island is Corolla and has wild ponies (similar to those of Chincoteague). Several spots of the islands require a ferry to get to the next.

My coworkers are great. They have been super helpful and are excited to have more help for the summer. One of the travel nurses from Duke-the one who got me the job-lives a couple blocks from me and has been extremely helpful as well. So far so good.

Flying home for Dad's wedding and the McLarty family reunion. Should be a big adventure.

Cultivating Peace

   The ocean leaves me breathless. It's like the first time the one you've been admiring from afar verbally invites you into banter; like the first time he reaches for your hand as you walk side by side; like the first kiss that leaves your knees weak and throws off your center of gravity. The ocean takes the breath right out of my lungs particularly when illuminated with a rising or setting sun. I am rubbish with any sort of instrument used to produce art with a medium on paper or canvas. I've never had good handwriting and have often surprised others with the crude and jagged edges of my efforts at communicating on paper. To imagine painting something as fantastic as the murals I am privileged to witness in the early hours of the morning is next to impossible for me but to imagine creating them from nothing and having the colors, lines, and continually changing hues look different each morning-our Creator is truly quite the romanitc!
   The most incredible view I have experienced to date was watching the full moon set from the beach and the gigantic red-orange hues of the sun paint the sky as they chased away the huge, white ball of cheese.
   C.S. Lewis said, "Don't let your happiness depend on something you may lose." I wonder how often we do just that. How often we allow our circumstances to dictate our happiness. As I try to figure out my next move in life, I can't imagine a place where I could be as at peace in my soul as I am now-however that is the wrong way to look at things. I dread the end of summer because it means I will leave this beautiful ocean. The peace I have reached in my heart of hearts is indescribable. God has taken my relationship with Him and continued to bless my desire to know Him better. That being said, I don't want my peace to be based on my location in life, circumstances, or people. I have seen myself completly lost and in love in a relationship with another person and I have now seen myself completely lost and in love with God. The latter of these is much more stable and confident because only God cant "steady my heart" and never leave. Any person that I would count on to do that would be unable to guarantee that circumstances would always allow them to be present for such a huge task. Even the most well-meaning of humans are still just that-human. They will not be around forever and thus cannot be counted on to complete such a task. My task now is to promote growth and sustain that internal peace that does not allow things around me to "ruffle my feathers". Everyone goes through difficult things in a day. The difference is how you respond. We all get the chance to respond to our difficulties. Even running from them is a response. Think about something about which you are completely confident. Something simple that you have done a million times. Now imagine being able to reproduce that confidence in any situation you face. I want to find that. I want the solid confidence of the Creator and lover of my soul to allow me to respond with grace and ease to any situation. Any task involving customer service allows the opportunity to respond with patience and ease. You must maintain self-control from your core. Pull from that inner-peace that you are continually cultivating and don't neglect to work on it each day. That kind of discipline doesn't happen overnight.