When I was in high school 9th grade was the grade we explored careers. Via career assessment tools and shadowing an adult on career day I learned two things about myself:
- Either I am scattered or assessment tools stink. I tested as suitable for over 700 jobs!
- I could mark one career off the list: Accounting. Thank you Mr. White for letting me shadow you and realizing any career involving walls and a desk better also come with a coffin because it would kill me.
Fast forward decades and it turns out that assessment was more on target that I thought at the time. Turns out, I have done about 700 different jobs. And I have a new one to add to the list.
You’ve heard of traveling companions, how about Medical Companion. Between my dad, my friend, and my job in member care in China, I’ve honed my skills these last few years. Blood no longer makes me want to vomit. I know, what happened? I was the kid who told my mom if I was ever in an accident DO NOT take me to the hospital. I’d rather die on the street than go to a hospital.
(I also had this medical gem for Mom: If I do happen to die, put a french fry in my mouth, I’m sure I’d come back to life for it. If that doesn’t work, bury me in my jeans.)
All this to say, this new found field of “Medical Companion” has been a bit of a surprise. After a visit to the ER in Beijing when the doctor asked me to glove up and help, I texted a friend I’d just fulfilled a life long dream. Her response, I can’t tell if you’re serious or sarcastic. And my sister Laura responded, “What have you done to my sister?”
In my calling as a Medical Companion three words have rung again and again in my soul
And at times (boring)
I know how much it has meant to me to have people present with me when I’ve been in medical situations. It’s easy to discount the power of presence, isn’t it? If something BIG isn’t happening on the surface it’s easy to buy the lie nothing is happening and you’re missing out on something better.
But let’s be honest, medical situations, like much of life, come with a lot of waiting. Waiting for a doctor’s appointment, waiting for results, waiting for healing to occur.
When my friend got out of the hospital, I felt like I had a spiritual / silent retreat. I had intentionally worked hard before the trip and didn’t bring too much work with me because I wanted to be fully present.
And so as I sat (and drank a lot of tea because the heat hadn’t been turned on yet and it was colder inside than out) the primary question I wrestled with involved the relationship between meaningful and interesting.
I knew what I was doing, what my friend was experiencing was meaningful. So why was it also
(and I am very discomfortable saying this because I don’t want to hurt her feelings or my dad’s or anyone else I’ve sat for hours with when they were in the hospital but this is the truth.)
Boring. I asked on my Facebook page about the relationship between interesting and meaningful. One person said if it’s meaningful, it will be interesting and if it’s interesting it will be meaningful. I’ve thought about that.
Carpe Diem is a great battle cry for life. What we don’t see is Mr. Robin Williams, teacher man, making his lesson plans and grading and attending faculty meetings and doing his laundry. Some of which is decidedly not interesting, but all of which add together to meaningful work.
One of the lessons of this trip is in my soul, head, and heart, I need to have interest and meaning related to each other without being wed together. As soon as I marry them, the minute something isn’t interesting, I’m tempted to think it’s a waste of my time. But the opposite is also true. We do not have to become martyrs to drudgery all in the name of meaning. I also come out of this trip with many laughs, stories told, and a new inside jokes.
Holy, important, and at times boring can go together. For now :)
This is day 3 of A Trip In Review Week: what it’s like to revisit your old life. You can see the full series here.