Sunday, July 18

Three in One

So to make up for my lengthy absence from blogger, I am posting three in one night.

Getting back into work has been nice in some ways. I was quite honestly terrified that after being gone for 3 weeks, I might not remember how to stick people. Praise God that turned out not to be the case. Anyway, I've had some really odd, random things happen at work recently, so I thought I'd share. For amusement's sake.

Many of the patients I see are fairly friendly people. The other night topped all though. I had just finished fixing a patient's IV so that I didn't have to stick her again (she had just been stuck a few hours ago). As I was getting ready to walk out the door, one of her family members called me back and started thanking me, and before I knew it had engulfed me in a hug. I stood slightly in shock, and when she let go, she fixed the tag on my scrub shirt. It was a nice gesture for her to thank me in such a way, but I'm afraid I'm not much for hugging complete strangers. The audacity of some people never ceases to amaze me.

Another night, I was walking down the hallway back from the ER or admissions unit when a man asked me how I was doing. "Oh, I'm good," I replied with a smile. "How are you doing?" He paused for a moment to consider my question, then, "I'm tall, dark, and handsome," was his completely serious reply. "Oh...." I stammered, and not knowing what to say in response, I continued on my way. The really funny thing is that he was really only about an inch taller than myself.

The final odd occurrence happened tonight. I was sitting in the office, and the phone rang. "IV office, this is Kristin," I answered. "Is this the morgue?" a voice asked in confusion. "Ummm, no..." She then asked, "Well what is it then?" So I told her again that it was the IV team office at the hospital. She then abruptly hung up, apparently displeased.

Who knows what adventures await me next week...

Shame on Me

I’ve been struggling with God a lot lately. For the two weeks that I just recently spent at Camp Cherokee, I had been wrestling with God. I knew in my head that God is good, that God is love, but my heart was questioning that knowledge. I think that it’s good to question God now and then because God always proves Himself true, and our faith comes out stronger on the other side.

I won’t go into detail about the specifics of why I was questioning God, but some of the questions I was asking involved whether or not God was holding out on me, whether or not He was really mighty to save anyone, whether or not He was putting to use all of His influence, all of His resources, to reach the people I love. I don’t know, maybe that sounds ridiculous to you. But I’ve grown so tired in my heart of watching people I love ruin their lives. I’ve exhausted my emotions agonizing over the emptiness I see in their lives when I know full well why they are so empty. And I’ve grown weary of praying for them and not seeing any results. In my weariness, I began to wonder if maybe God had given up; maybe they were beyond His reach, maybe they had rejected Him to the point that He would no longer spend His Holy Spirit in trying to win their hearts. Was God really love? Were God’s intentions really good? For me? For them?

While at camp, I came to a sort of peace, but I wasn’t truly, deeply at peace. I came to a point where I could see daybreak coming; it wasn’t yet arrived, but this present darkness would come to an end. Part of that peace came from reading Hebrews 10-12 and also 2 Timothy 2:11-13, which says, “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” God who is love cannot be untrue to His own character.

Then on Sabbath I read something that was even more reassuring. I was reading in the Desire of Ages about the triumphal entry (p. 576). Ellen White talks about how Jesus paused at the crest of the hill above Jerusalem and began to sob bitterly. She says,

The tears of Jesus were not in anticipation of His own suffering. Just before Him was Gethsemane, where soon the horror of a great darkness would overshadow Him. The sheepgate also was in sight, through which for centuries the beasts for sacrificial offerings had been led. This gate was soon to open for Him, the great Antitype, toward whose sacrifice for the sins of the world all these offerings had pointed. Near by was Calvary, the scene of His approaching agony. Yet it was not because of these reminders of His cruel death that the Redeemer wept and groaned in anguish of spirit. His was no selfish sorrow. The thought of His own agony did not intimidate that noble, self-sacrificing soul. It was the sight of Jerusalem that pierced the heart of Jesus—Jerusalem that had rejected the Son of God and scorned His love, that refused to be convinced by His mighty miracles, and was about to take His life. He saw what she was in her guilt of rejecting her Redeemer, and what she might have been had she accepted Him who alone could heal her wound. He had come to save her; how could He give her up?

Shame on me. Shame on me for entertaining the thought that my tears were more than those of Creator God himself, for imagining that my love runs deeper than God’s, who by definition is love.

In the face of separation, divorce, from God the Father—an unfathomable concept for all of heaven—Jesus wept in anguish not for His own pain, but for the loss of His earthly love. Shame on me for doubting. And praise God for His patient love and faithfulness.

Day Five: Sabbath in Berrien Springs

From Holland, Michigan we made our way to Berrien Springs. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I was skeptical that Berrien Springs would be a terribly memorable and exciting experience on our road trip. Thankfully, my skepticism was quickly conquered.

We were planning to stay with Adelina, a friend of Beth-Anne’s brother, Jason, which was slightly unnerving for me because I had never met her, and I tend to be quite shy in situations where I’m not comfortable and don’t know people. That in itself was reason enough to be wary, but what really made me begin to withdraw into self-isolation was the fact that Adelina was hosting a Friday evening vespers for a bunch of her friends, an end of the year gathering for good friends. I felt rather out of place and extremely shy. So I found a good corner, stuck close to Beth-Anne and Emily, and tried to be unnoticeable. In hindsight, it was somewhat ridiculous for me to have imagined that I could go unnoticed as one of three unfamiliar faces in a small group setting of close friends.

Thankfully, everyone who had come to the vespers was extremely friendly and made efforts to talk to the three of us even though we were kind of crashing their party. At one point I had to laugh to myself because I thought of a conversation that my friend Alex and I have had a few times.

On several occasions Alex has teased me about the fact that I ought to move to Berrien Springs and hang out around the Seminary, seeing as I am a nice, Adventist nurse who happens to be single. Whenever Alex makes ridiculous comments along those lines I remind him that I am not qualified to be a pastor’s wife because I don’t play the piano. He then will often laugh and tell me that can be fixed.

Anyway, as I was sitting in my corner, I began to realize that the great majority of the people in the room were Seminary students. Shortly after I had come to the realization that I was a single nurse among many pastors, one of the guys there began talking to me. He asked what I did, and I told him I was a nurse. I kid you not, his very next question was, “Do you play the piano?” I had to hide my amusement as I informed him that I do not play the piano.

The rest of Friday night was really nice. After we ate, we began to sing songs. They even humored Beth-Anne, Emily, and me by singing from the hymnal. Then began the Bible study. I enjoyed a great deal of the conversation, but unfortunately, I was quite exhausted, and I’m afraid I fell asleep at some point. When I woke up there was a heated debate beginning about wealth. The debate became rather intense, too intense for my liking, but thankfully at the end of the study all was well and all were still friends.

Sabbath morning, Adelina set out a small feast for breakfast. After eating we headed off to Pioneer Memorial Church, which was really nice, and much smaller than I remembered. After church we walked around campus just to take a look, took a few pictures, and then made our way to a picnic spot for lunch with some of Adelina’s friends (a few of whom we had met at vespers). After lunch, we decided to go see some dunes, which I was really excited about.

I don’t recall which dunes we went to, but we hiked from the parking lot in over some sand to the shore, and then quickly spotted the highest dune we could find to climb. We left all our sandals at the bottom of the dune and began our ascent. At the time, this seemed an adventurous and brilliant plan—to climb the highest dune in bare feet; however, we grossly underestimated the sizzle factor of hot sun on sand.

I’m pretty sure that our record for number of steps we managed to take in a row before collapsing in pain on the ground was approximately 13. To say that the sand was hot would be like saying that Antarctica is chilly. I honestly felt like I was stepping on hot stove burners; I’m not exaggerating, really. We probably looked absolutely absurd because we would “run” ten or so steps up this super steep slope, turn around, and promptly sit down while trying to lift our blistering feet off the sand. After regaining our breath and bracing ourselves for the pain, we would repeat the cycle. Many cycles later, we finally made it to the top, from which point we would supposedly be able to see the Chicago shoreline (this turned out not to be the case as it was quite hazy). Thankfully, at the top of the dune there was some shady, cool sand where we gathered and enjoyed each other’s company. We also took some pictures. I must say that Beth-Anne is THE master self-timer picture taker of all time. She managed to hang her camera from a small tree branch, avert the swaying of the wind, and get everyone in the group shot in a mere two takes. She also successfully repeated this process when Jonathan, a latecomer, made it to the top and was saddened to hear that we had already taken the group photo.

Once mostly recovered from our trek up, we did the only thing there is to do once you’ve reached the top of the highest dune: run down with reckless abandon. It was exhilarating, and it lasted all of 45 seconds. Running down made every minute of the grueling hike up worth it. And once to the bottom of the dune, we headed for the ice-cold water to soothe our blistered feet. We walked in the water along the shoreline for a while, and once back to our belongings, we dove in the water. Swimming in Lake Michigan was very fun, but really, really cold. Immanuel decided he did not want to swim in the cold water, so the girls rather cleverly plotted against him. I felt like I was in high school again, helping them throw him in, but in all honesty, it was rather well planned, and he suspected nothing. Adelina asked to borrow his phone, while the rest of us pretended to be done with the cold water. A few of the girls started talking to him, while a few others snuck up behind him, and the rest you can imagine.

We ended our day at the dunes with a classic dune-jumping photo shoot, and then hopped in the car on to our last venture: Chicago.

Berrien Springs surprised me; I really expected it to be low-key and rather mundane, but it ended up being one of my favorite days of our road trip because of the wonderful fellowship we had and the great friends and memories we made.. But the people we met were really incredible people. They were super fun and so warm and welcoming.