When I was sick people would tell me how much they admired my strength and how I handled things with such a great attitude. Little did they know that behind closed doors I ugly cried and shouted at God and fell down on my knees begging for him to just take me so I wouldn’t have to endure anymore suffering. People never saw that side of it. They only saw the girl with the pretty bald head and the big smile. I made sure of it.
And any strength I did find was solely a reflection of Christ’s strength in my weakness. I could have never made it through those years without it. I still can’t make it through even one good day without it.
Since I started working at Children’s, the same comments get thrown around in casual conversation when people find out where I work and what I do. “It takes a special kind of person to do that job!”. “You’re so strong!”
No. No, I’m not. I’m an absolute mess.
I’m supposed to keep these professional boundaries that help with getting too attached and in turn keep me from getting burnt out. I’m supposed to stay uninvolved and do my work and go home and be able to shut my mind off from the days events. But I can’t. I don’t think anyone in this situation can. It’s not just a job. These kids are fighting for their lives and we are there alongside them taking up arms in the battle. I can’t help but fall in love with them. I can’t help but see myself in them.
No, I’m not a hero. No, I’m not strong. I hurt and I cry and I fuss at God and ask him “Why?”
All. The. Time.
I get angry and I throw my hands up and want to throw in the towel and say I’m done. Because in my heart, I am. I am over it all. I can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.
But this isn’t a job you can just walk away from. I can’t quit and forget about them anymore than I can come home at night and forget about them. Because I know they’re still there. They’re still fighting and I can’t quit on them. Even when things are hard for me, they are harder for them. I’m fighting to stay afloat in a job that takes and takes and rarely gives, but they are fighting to take another breath. Perspective.
And despite how we would like to portray these young fighters, they too are not superheroes. They are human. They cry and they scream and they get depressed. They hate their lives, their bodies and the cruel circumstances that brought them to us. They lash out in anger and they withdraw into sadness. They are human. They are no stronger than you and I. They are simply fighting the battle that they had no choice but to face head on.
It’s ok for us to admire them. God knows I have a great admiration and love for so many of my young friends, but let’s not be unfair and call them something that they could never live up to.
I remember the pressure of having to be okay when I really wasn’t. It’s exhausting to be brave for everyone else. Sometimes you just need to hear that its okay to be not okay.
Right now I’m not okay. Too much is changing around me. There is so much darkness. I’m searching for the light.
I am not superhuman. I am only me. May God give me the strength to make through this minute, this hour, this day.