Monday, July 26, 2010

this says it all

"Seal Beach" - The Album Leaf
Our professor read this to us the first day of class and it meant little to nothing to me then. Just about 10 weeks later, it means everything to me. I have grown weary of our time in the lab and yet I am so grateful for the experience. I know without it I would not have discovered the depth of my empathy, the intensity of my fears, nor would I have learned so permanently half the things I have in these few summer months. I want to put this here as a reminder of the beginning of my experiences in graduate school. I want to be able to come back to it, even years from now and remember, vividly, what it was like; the good, the bad, the raw, the reality.

The Book I Couldn’t Buy
by Emily (Isaak) Schindler

I remember the difficulty we had with the electric saw that day. A professor had to come over and help us. There was smoke, the blade was turning brown, and you refused to yield to his heavy-handed attempt. He stopped, turning off the saw. “There’s your problem.” A wire, covered by connective tissue, had been used to rejoin your sternum after open-heart surgery. I remember thinking that it didn’t look very elegant--I briefly wondered if the surgeon had misplaced the real wire, forgotten the real technique, and instead taken a paperclip, wrapped it around the bone, twisted it a couple of times, folded it down, patted it, and closed you back up. It just didn’t seem very official.

We scoured you for clues. Your heart, large and broken, told most of the story. Neat blue stitches anchored vessels borrowed from your inner chest wall and your leg to your failing heart. The thick, muscular wall of your left ventricle invoked thoughts of strength, thoughts I knew were wrong--your heart was weak. Your left atrium exploded. It simply wasn’t there. Your heart failed you and your aorta followed suit.

I’m sorry. I really am. I remember looking at the impersonal card hanging from our table and thinking almost 90 was a nice, solid age to live to. Perhaps you had a taste for steak, indulged in dessert, and drank beer. Maybe you just ate too much. I would have gently told you that your weight was a little too high, that you would feel better and live longer if you changed your eating habits. I would have also remarked on how lucky you were to be so strong still--your muscles are all so long, large, and defined. It’s just that you’ve got a little too much fat on top of all that. Your prostate is enlarged. It was probably a nuisance. But that’s no matter now.

Maybe you tried to change. Maybe you did change. I can’t know. Won’t know. It’s odd, knowing things about you no one else knows. Your obturator artery comes off your inferior epigastric artery. The arteries feeding your large intestine were truly unique--from everywhere to everywhere. The instructor told us not to even look at them, lest we get confused. None of this really matters to you, I know.

Wildly variant minor arteries probably weren’t going to change who you were as a son, lover, student, employee, citizen, father, man. Fortunately, you saw that they might change who I would become as a physician. I wonder if you knew what would happen to your body, if you understood the violence that would be done to it. I have a feeling you did. I’m guessing you knew that we would separate you layer by layer, bone by bone, and learn you inside and out. You knew we needed you. You knew I needed you.

Your body was the book I couldn’t buy, the class only you could teach. You knew it and that’s why you were there. Now I know it, too.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Do you know the way you move me" - Cory Asbury
you've ravished my heart. you have. just one glance of your eye, just one, just one, just one...
my heart it's undone. everytime you look at me.
everyday that you don't give up, that you don't let go, that you don't let down.
my heart it's undone, my heart it's ravished.
do you know the way you move me?
'cause i saw when you gave it all up, i did, i did...
you passed up opportunity after opportunity, just to seek me, just to find me,
just to love me just a little longer i saw you, i saw you...and it moved my heart, it moved my heart...
don't think those little sacrifices go unnoticed, 
don't think those little times go unnoticed when you think i'm not looking at you 
i saw it, i saw it, i saw when you gave up everything to follow me i did, i did, i did
and i'm pleased and i'm proud and i'm pleased and i'm proud
and i'm not mostly dissapointed, and i'm not mostly mad, and i'm not mostly sad, 
i'm happy with you 
and i love you i love you i love you i love you, my beloved one

do you know the way you move me?


In lab class today we dissected the heart. A human heart to be specific.
I have to say that this entire dissecting experience has been quite the myriad of thoughts, emotions, and experiences. After the first day I came home and bursted into tears in Jason's arms. The reality that this was once a person with his own family and his own thoughts. To think of him doing his daily activities, like putting on cologne or hugging his grandchildren; reading a book at night as he fell asleep or drinking his morning cup of coffee. Yes, it was a bit too much for me to handle, the finality of it all.
Both of my teachers were incredibly intuitive to this and expressed to me that it was not only normal but imperative that I feel this way. They told me to never loose that empathy and compassion for others. It made my heart swell to realize that what I considered to be a weakness was actually a rare gift I'd been trying to suppress.
It makes me think on all of the experiences through high school and college that tried to rip and tear away my compassion. Because in this worldy world it is greater to be soulless then to be overwhelmed by the weight of souls. And these realizations, these ideas are the ones that must be stuck. These are the kinds of life points that are necessary to write down. To be remembered, because no child should ever have to think that in order to survive they must "grow a tough skin".
I am so grateful, then, for the dread I feel every day I have to delve deeper into this human body; because the weight of the unknowns in this man's life weight heavy on me. And I am constantly aware of the gravity of how precious the soul is as I peer into each cavity of this shell. Because without our soul we are nothing but this, something to be cut up and examined. And yet, as I put my hands into his heart, I am still incredibly amazed with every turn of an artery and every tightly clinched valve at just how intricate and perfectly placed every single aspect of us is.
"Thursday" - Asobi Seksu

when you dream...

I set several alarms, each of which is assigned a different song. There is a five minute interval between each of the alarms and somewhere in between each the real blaring alarm clock makes it way into my dreamlike state. I say all of this to say that this morning, in between songs, I had a wacky dream involved Whoopi Goldberg, a gas station, my sweet husband, iced coffee, a guy from my PT class, my old job and several of the people from it, a trip on a bus (much like the ones I used to take with my youth group), and a ridiculous musical interlude.
I know.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

good mornin'

The innate ability of our hearts to forgive.
The sensitivity, the leaning towards compassion that is undeniable.
How we cannot bare to think upon the reality of suffering, and yet we fight it head on daily
How empathy's second nature,
and the heartaches of our youth turn into cherished memories and pivotal lessons learned
How He has always taken even the worst of my life's situations, and turned it into something beautiful.

These are just a few examples of His whisperings of truth in my life.
Gregory Alan Isakov - "San Francisco"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mine: Sunday Snapshots

James Taylor - "Carolina In My Mind"

My family is my life. Plain and simple. 
They are the ones who made me who I am.
I do not want to use any fancy words to try and concoct some sort explanation for what they mean to me.

My mom is my best girlfriend and my daddy, is well, my daddy. He was the litmus test to which all other men where compared.

And of course only one passed.

I am thankful for the faith they instilled in my along with the freedom to find my own way (however shaking and skewed that way may've been from time to time).

I pray, in my heart and from time to time aloud, that I might learn to be half of what they have been to me to my own one day.

I am thankful that I do not resent my parents and understand why He told us to "honor our father and mother", because I've caught a glimpse of just what the gravity of doing the opposite means.

Sometimes I wish it were still common place for all of the family to live under one roof. To have my husband, both sets of our parents, our siblings, nieces, nephews, and my future children (along with any other miscellaneous family that might want to join in) living together under one roof, that sounds pretty much like heaven to me. Anytime we talk about the political/economical woes of the day we always talk about our eventual commune we would escape to, and I secretly wish these times would hurry up and get here. I would give nothing more than to move away deep into the forest with those closest to me, grow our own crops, raise our own animals, even sew our own clothes and just live. Free of all the insanity of the world, free of the exposure, just free (as those before us truly intended). That, without a doubt, would be heaven...I really do pray that maybe one day it will come down to this. To start all over and rely completely on one another.

I know I have alot of growing up to do. In so many ways I am still a child. Still dreaming of my "Little House on the Prairie" promised life. But these past three years of life have been the most insightfully aging ones yet. And I know there are plenty more to come. And I am excited, scared, & most of all so very ready.

I am filled with Joy and a good chunk of hope. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

home, sweet home.

We moved into our humble abode on the same day I began the Doctoral Physical Therapy big deal right? (Pssssssh....) So thankful to my daddy for moving ALL of our stuff with Jason in a single trip. So thankful to Jason's parents for coming to stay with us on our first night in the new home, and extra thankful for them staying to help begin the unpacking process. Thankful to my Moma for basically sterilizing and and organizing both my sanity and the house as a whole, not once but twice this month. And most importantly to Jason for allowing me to sit still amongst the mess and absorb the copious amount of anatomical information I am expected to learn in a 10 week span of time. I am thankful for little reminders of how he should never be taken for granted:

And especially thankful for good friends who came to share in my first official attempts at hospitality. Thankful for sharing in good food, good wine, homemade apple pie, and a night filled with music and good conversation.

This morning in class I was reminded by my incredible professor of what Independence Day is really all about. His sincerity was revealing of how God puts people in your life for times such as this. When you are reminded to be overwhelmed with thanks to those who gave their lives so that we could walk with our heads held proud. I am especially grateful for the undertones of faith as he spoke of our Freedom...

"It is for freedom He set us free."
"For Freedom" - Jimmy Needham

Sunday Snapshot: The Call

I do believe that although I don't update this as often as I'd like, and it's nearly 3 AM, and I have class at 10 AM on this very same day, I am still young(ish) and therefore must take advantage of my ability to function on very little sleep while I still can...(good excuse? :))
After reading so many of the Sunday Snapshots for nearly a year I finally felt compelled to include my own. I was, and am continued to be inspired by Stephanie's incredible faith and expression of Christ's calling in her life. It is through this and many other very specific venues in my life that I have come to understand for what purpose I was created. A purpose my love and I (Lord willing) will someday fulfill.
This one toddled into my life somewhere around 3 years ago and awakened in me an instinct I never knew existed.

I was never the one who eagerly awaited my turn to hold the babies, I never jumped at the chances to babysit the neighborhood kids...but when this little one came into my life, it was God's way of placing that little inkling of something in my heart. And by a little inkling I mean an immediate, insurmountable bond between this little one and the potential He has for me.
She is the reason I know I was born to become a mother.

And this little one. The first newborn I've ever held.

She is the assurance that I am strong enough to do what we have been sent here to. What I as a woman am blessed to do.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


"Recycled Air" - Postal Service

There are some songs that regardless of where you are, who you are with, and what mood you are in they have the ability to take you right back to driving through your hometown as the sun was just beginning to set. Where everywhere you turned there was someone you knew. Where everyone lined up there lawn chairs on the levee to watch the fireworks on Independence Day. Where you drove with the only intention of seeing and being seen, where everyone is always on the look out for you and you are always on the look out for everyone else.
When you were totally unaware of how soon everything and everyone in your life were about to take the most violent shift out and soon after, everything and everyone that would ever mean anything from then on in your life would shape shift in.
Almost as if you had been living a rather tumorous life without even knowing it and suddenly it ruptured. Underwent emergency transplant. And forever you were broken and reminded of just how fragile this life is and how blessed you are to still be a part it. Rubbing the scar as a reminder of what once was, and these songs cause it to burn as if it were casually reminding you of every single event leading up to this.
And it's overwhelming, the reminder, that those who once consumed your life, your youth, are those you may never see again. Like that tumor you'd grown accustomed to, gone forever. Life is like that, and music is the vehicle that drives my every memory.