Sunday, February 25, 2007

Not-so-reading week

Hey everyone, sorry it’s been so long. I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching and journaling in the last couple of weeks, and it has sapped all of my writing strength. I haven’t even written any poems in the last little while, which is rather scary, because I have a project to turn in about a month from now, and only a couple of poems to my name… it’s time to downsize to haiku…

Danice and I had an excellent time with the MRIs. We are happy to report that we do, in fact, have brains, and we even got to take home a CD full of pictures of our brains to prove it. I tried my hardest to post one on this blog, but you need a special program to show them. So you’ll just have to come visit me, and I’ll show you my pictures. The best part was that we got to do Sudoku during the MRI, while having our brains scanned! That was the decision-making component. Good thing I had all the Sudoku practice during my New Testament survey class last semester…thanks to mom for clipping them out of the Star Phoenix and mailing them to me.

Lots of firsts for me over the last week, which was reading week, but didn’t contain very much reading. It was my first time getting ashes on my forehead for Ash Wednesday. I went snowshoeing for the first time, and I was a natural. I think it’s because I’m so experienced with snow, even though I’m not very experienced with shoes. I also had a first-time experience catering for my church retreat. I say catering, but what I mean is making 25 bag lunches. I discovered that most people don’t really care about food. They care about coffee. And having it ready when they arrive. And they care quite a bit about the coffee in the carafe labeled “decaf” actually being decaf coffee. Oops. They gave me some grace, because I’m not a coffee drinker, and I don’t know the grave importance of these issues.

Also, for the first time, I didn’t come close to fainting when I had blood drawn. I have a fairly severe needle phobia that usually sends my body into shut-down mode – ringing in my ears, eyes blacking out, muscles going weak, a cold sweat all over – everything you see in the movies and laugh at. It’s an irrational fear, as irrational as Danice’s fear of squirrels and mold, and, horror of horrors, moldy squirrels. I have had little success telling myself that it won’t hurt – because it’s not the pain I fear – I have no idea what part of it scares me. It’s an immediate bodily response. This has accounted for some of the most embarrassing experiences of my life, especially several years ago, in my only case of “vicarious” needle phobia, when I nearly fainted watching the removal of my sister Sarah’s IV. She was quite upset when the nurses ignored her and rushed to my aid, helping me into the wheelchair reserved for her… But this week my blood test went fine, despite the fact that the previous evening, I read on the internet that needle / blood phobia (more specifically, vasovagal syncope) is one of the only phobias that can kill you, since it makes the blood from your brain and heart rush to your legs and other big muscles, and can cause cardiac arrest. Not the best choice of pre-blood test reading material. Nevertheless, I made it through. Hopefully it will help the doctor figure out what’s wrong with my upper GI tract.

This whole vocation discernment process has consumed much of my thought this week… I could hardly focus on anything else, which made my school reading a chore. I’ve been busy exploring my motives and gifts, asking the people closest to me to pray for me and help me understand who I am, and spending time with God, sometimes yelling at him and sometimes just straining to listen. I’ve been reading “call” stories in the Bible – Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Saul, David… that has been eye-opening. It’s been a time of vulnerability for me. I’ve fluctuated between the extremes of thinking I’m very “cut out” for ministry, that I would be very effective and wonderful and inspirational – to thinking I’m a mess, and a foolish, silly, sinful, confused little person who couldn’t possibly offer any deepened understanding of God to anyone – and I’m landing somewhere in the middle, which I think is ok. I think if God leads me forward in this, I will need simultaneous reminders of my giftedness and my foolishness to keep me humble and sane.

The most frustrating part is knowing that I’m the only one who can put all the pieces of me together. The people I love offer me different views of myself, their perceptions of me and my abilities and passions, but I’m the one with the most angles on myself. I’m the one who experienced that strange sudden mind conversion that is starting to seem to me like a call, because of how irrational and unprecedented it was. And it’s frustrating not being able to prove it, or explain it completely. But of course, I have the Holy Spirit to help me, and he is not to be underestimated. And I think that slowly and fumblingly, I’m learning to listen, and seeing broader ways God wants to shape me, things he wants to deal with in my life whichever direction I choose. This excites me and gives me hope in the midst of the confusion.

Please keep praying for me, if you think of it.


Amaris said...

I want to see your MRIs when I come visit in April. And I will pray for you. (By the way, I share the vasovagal response to needles and blood when I have to observe blood being drawn or IVs. It doesn't bother me when I am helping someone who is hurting, though, so I am hoping that will make it okay... :))

Anonymous said...

hey beth! i told jean davide that you're going to be a pastor and he told me to tell you to make sure that there's nothing else in the world you would rather do ever or something like that but he was joking. he also told me to tell you to find a husband. he was not so joking. haha i am praying for you!

Lisa said...

beth, i have seen two sunrises in a row! but it's because i stayed up so late two nights in a row that i saw the sun rise. ah finals.