I turned 20 yesterday, which I think means I’m supposed to put my big girl pants on now.
It’s time for me to adult now, and while I have officially finished living my second day on earth as a twenty year old I think this makes me qualified now to speak on the subject, because you know I’m wiser now of course.
So here’s what I’ve got for you…..
Tonight I spent the night cleaning out a shower drain with my roommate.
Today for 12 hours throughout my shift at my fire station I wondered about my fellow bothers and sisters that responded to the most recent school shooting, I wondered how they were doing. I thought about how they were coping after having cleaned up the horrific tragedy and selfishness of a cruel act. I wondered if they were okay, if they were going to be okay, even though I knew they weren’t okay, and they weren’t going to be okay.
Then I got to come home, to my roommate, and we cleaned out a shower drain together, and we played with our cats.
I turned 20 yesterday, and I shouldn’t be thinking about when I’ll have to show up to my nightmare, because it isn’t an “if” at this point anymore, its a when.
2 years ago I sat in a classroom as an eager baby ready to become the lifesaving hero, to live the life I saw on the screens.
Today I sit in the classroom knowing that I’m lucky if I get a couple saves in my entire career. It isn’t like the movies.
My sister asked me on the way home from work today, “do you ever wonder what happens to your patients, how they end up”. I told her of course, there are calls that I won’t forget, that will stay with me forever, but for the most part, no.
No I don’t wonder because then I won’t have time to clean shower drains, and play with my cat.
No I don’t wonder, because then I won’t be able to remember Raegan’s birthday, or her important plans.
And I need to have time to clean shower drains, and play with cats.
And I need to remember Raegan’s birthday, and her important plans.
I went into this 2 years ago not knowing what to expect entirely, but knowing that I was hoping to get something far more important than what I could ever give. I went in looking for healing.
While part of me has healed in a way that I can never truly explain, another part of me has broken, a part that was once whole.
Part of me has broken because I’ve realized that the “breaking news” on the TV every week is more than just something flashing on the screen. That even though it might not have happened in my town, or my city, my people are hurting. People, REAL people are hurting. I turned my head from this two years ago, and maybe some days I still do, days like today. Days when I need to clean shower drains and play with cats, because doing anything else is too much.
This last year has been the best year of my entire life. I might have broken in new ways, but I have healed, and loved in so many more.
The love I have for the existence of life, is one that will continue to endlessly leave me in awe. The sheer concept of life in itself brings enough joy to my soul to keep me content for the rest of my time on earth.
All of that hurt, the anticipation of the when, the broken, it is nothing in comparison to the chance at life.
If I had to break a thousand more times to get to the good, the very very good, I would. I would break over and over if it meant I got to know sheer joy.
And so maybe that’s why my life isn’t just cleaning shower drains, and playing with cats anymore.
Maybe it’s because I’ve found the comfort in not knowing what happens to my patients after I leave them, because I know that someday, eventually I’m going to get the joy, even after all of the broken.
and Maybe I’m able to get up every morning and know that the broken might come today, but that things will go on, because at the end of the day, the shower drains, and my cats, and my roommate will be there, because I get a chance at life.
I’m not sure that 19 taught me anything I din’t already know on the inside, but maybe it just made it a little more obvious.
And for that, for that, I am grateful.
Hold your loved ones close, really close, shout their worth, and don’t ever stop shouting it, even when your voice is gone.
Make sure those in your life, the real ones in your life, know their place in your life, and continue to make it known, even when they don’t doubt it.
Love hard, and love deep, because there aren’t any more chances to love after what we are given, so make them worth it.
But most importantly, don’t give up. Don’t let the broken overshadow the shower drains, and the roommates, and the cats, because they are your sun. The broken might be healing you, but the roommates, and the cats, and the shower drains, they are making it possible for you to heal.
And above all else, love yourself, because you are a rare gem, a special creation, one of a kind, and nobody else will ever get to share what is on your inside.
Cheers to 20……