Thursday, April 22, 2010
Now don't worry about me...I'm not there yet, but burn out is just a topic that has kind of hit me in the last week or so, and I've been thinking about it a bit, and since I was trying to think of a blog topic, I think that's gonna be it.
So, here we go. What got me thinking about this topic was the fact that we have been super busy these last few weeks, and so I’ve been feeling particularly tired and somewhere between busy and overwhelmed. Usually at the Mission of Hope we have a couple of teams each week, some medical, some not medical, some young, some not so young...but in general, just a couple teams with a couple, maybe 20 people. It's busy enough, but not too crazy. Well, this week is a little bit crazy! For the next 2 days we have about 130 people staying at the guesthouse here at MOH, and over 2 weeks we have an average of about 100 people. Don't ask me how we found rooms for them all! But, it has been a lot of work to even just find work for the teams to do, both medical and non-medical. Then, to find the support staff (enough translators, because what good is an American doc here without a translator? seriously...), and enough shovels and gas to keep the construction teams busy. It's definitely a job! So...with all of this going on, sleep has been minimal with getting up early to prep people for mobile clinics, and up late packing for mobile clinics, or answering any last minute questions, or just catching up with friends...which is nice to do once in a while!
With all of this going on in the last week, I've found myself thinking a lot about the reality of getting burned out when staying long term in the mission field. I had a couple of thoughts about this before actually coming to stay in Haiti for awhile...and now that I look back, they may have been a little silly. First of all...I thought burn out just shouldn't happen. I mean, if you're doing what God calls you to, how could you burn out? You should be full of joy and loving what you're doing every day of the week...right? Ya, that's not always the case though I'm finding. I'm stilling living life, just plain old, simple, everyday life, only in a different place with different people, and different issues to deal with. It's still life. Also, I had this plan right after I was done school. My super fantastic plan was that I would go away to bible school for 1 or 2 years, get everything figured out, nailed down, get close and deep with Jesus and be set...then I would go into missions wherever I was called to and be one of the few that wouldn't burn out, I would be one of those people that had somehow "figured it out." Silly.
So, now here I am. Tried to get into bible school for oh, 2 years, and it just didn't happen...don't know why. But, God knew...and I think it just took that much time for me to give up and say, ok, what do You want? And now, here I am. I guess its what He wanted! I’ve said all of that to lead up to this point...I've just kind of been thinking these last couple days that burn out happens. We are human. We're weak people that need Jesus. I've had to remind myself over and over again that this trip isn't just me being humanitarian, its more than that. Its bigger than that. I remember some preacher man talking about there being nothing wrong with us admitting that we need God...that's humility, and that's just realizing the truth really. So I'm learning to embrace this...just learning though! I'm recognizing that I may burn out, I'll probably get tired (wait, I already am!), I might not love what I'm doing every day that I'm here, but its ok, its normal. I'm human.
I don’t want it to sound like I’ve just given up and have resolved that its a fact that I will at some point burn out. That’s not it. What I’m trying to take from all of this is that I will experience the same emotions as always...frustration, tiredness, joy, love, and everything else in between, but I need to recognize that through it all, I need Jesus. I need Him for strength, for life, and for just getting through a day sometimes. I need that quiet time with Him to just be still and remember who I am to Him. Just one quick verse – Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”
So those are my thoughts for this week. Hope you like them, or at least they make you think! As you can tell I'm sure, I am getting a little tired...but I'm just embracing the little things each day that I love. I'm also loving that I'm starting to pick up the language a little bit more...apparently the other night I was talking in Creole in my sleep. You have no idea how excited I was when my roommates told me that one!! Seriously!
One more story...sorry!!! This morning I was up at 5:30am and took one of our patients to the US embassy to get a medical visa, and we got it!!! I was a little nervous going in there as the medical professional that needed to stand up for her case and argue why she needed to go to the states for surgery. But, when we got there we pretty much handed in the papers and then went to the next counter and they said...this visa is good for 6 months. The end. Fantastic! So, that's me right now. Pretty happy. Now I need to go eat some good Haitian rice and beans. Night!