I once heard the story of a potter who was working the clay intensely. For long hours he shaped the clay, turning it into a beautiful vessel. He then placed it in the fire and waited.
I moved to Georgia in 2010. I loved Chicago and it took me a year to finally make the decision to move. Before moving I did my homework and after inquiring and researching different hospitals in the area, I finally found the one I thought was similar to the one I had been working at and loved in Chicago. The day came and I was on my way to my new place. I had made the decision in my heart that in Georgia I was going to find my forever home. However, things did not go the way I had envisioned.
When I started on my new job, there were many things going on that made me question my decision, and I wanted to go back to Illinois so bad… As I struggled with what I thought was a bad decision, I became angry and was upset all the time. I couldn’t see how I was coming across sometimes, especially at work. With patients, I was ok. But when it came to coworkers and work, I had no patience… and I was getting tired. Keeping up with anger is hard work. In 2012 I completed the masters with a concentration in nurse education and right away was hired at the university as clinical instructor. The future was turning a little brighter, but I still couldn’t see the light.
One day, a new girl started to work in the unit. She was unique. Very different than everybody else. Happy. Bubbly. She didn’t care what people said; and people really tried to make her life difficult. But she owned herself. AC reminded me of the girl I once was; the wild and free girl I used to be before getting hurt by people and a toxic system. Of course we became friends. She introduced me to other amazing girls, and we all became camping buddies. For several years we had an appointment to meet by the lake to spend 2 nights and 3 days sitting by the fire. It wasn’t long before we all realized how deep into the fire we all were.
In different ways, we were all experiencing some kind of hardship, discontent, and hurt. During those days by the lake we laughed, cried, but we also discovered some amazing things about each other. After being exposed for many years to a system that left me wonder if there was any good in me, my friends helped me feel good about myself. Those days made me realize that I had been sitting inside the ring of fire for too long. I couldn’t continue living in anger anymore and had to find a way out. I had to find my voice. And one day, I decided to see the good in the bad. Yes; my previous hospital, place, and friends were amazing; but moving to GA put me in touch with amazing people too.
A little boy saw the potter put the vessel in the fire. After some time he approached the potter and asked him: “When will you know that the vessel is ready?” The potter answered: “When I hit the vessel and I hear it sing, then I will know that it is ready to be removed from the fire.”
I was that vessel. Standing in the middle of the ring of fire, it was my turn to start singing. That day, I made the decision to always look for new opportunities; to see the good, instead of the bad; to look for whatever or whoever was waiting for me to arrive and make a difference. I will look for ways to find my voice and sing.