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Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Life, Day One

When we moved to Kijabe Scott and I were theoretically sharing a full-time position, meaning each of us would work half time, though in different areas of the hospital.  This was to allow Scott to invest the needed hours in being a WHM Field Director, and I had dreams of being a more available mom, of processing the last couple of decades by writing, of living at a healthier pace.  Everyone was very supportive at Kijabe, also in theory, but we were each assigned full solo consultant responsibilities for busy services and normal call schedules.  Except for the two weeks off to go to Uganda, and a couple of days for Burundi, we've been fully present.  At first I tried to get my hospital work done in half a day but soon realized that was impossible.  I do love the work, and many days I would not have chosen to miss any of it, but I also see the shrinking time left with my teens, and know I've been pushing too hard.  When I got sick last week it was a pretty major forced slow-down.   But in God's amazing timing, that illness came exactly as my new best friend Dr. Mardi was getting settled at Kijabe.  We had planned a slow transition into work for her in May with real job-sharing beginning in June.  But she jumped into the gap and found she was needed and appreciated and able to manage.  So this week we are, for the first time, giving the job-share a go.  

I'll work Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday up to mid-afternoon, then hand over to Mardi.  She'll finish Wednesdays (nice because sports events are often WEds afternoons) and then take over Thursday and Friday.  We'll take turns doing Saturdays, so some weeks she'll hand back over to me on Friday afternoons, and other weeks we'll touch base on Sundays before I start back on Monday again.  This allows her to do preschool/playgroup things with her small children (ages 2 and 4), and have focused Swahili time as well.  

Today was the first day of the rest of my life. After morning Swahili lessons when I would normally be rushing to start rounds and answering pages . . . I instead said goodbye to everyone else and stayed home.  I spent about two hours sitting at Scott's desk reading and pondering and editing something he's writing and had asked my input on.  I worked on some administrative details for the Africa Field retreat we're planning in August for all our WHM missionaries in Africa.  I went through the top ten or fifteen flagged emails and crafted some answers. ( This is the kind of thing that I otherwise only do from about 9 to 10 at night, which is not a great time for clear thinking. )  After that productive time I BAKED COOKIES, which seemed like what you might hope your mom would do if you were a teen and she was having her first morning "off".  Molasses, a favorite of Jack's.  I helped Abigail make rice and beans for lunch, and had the food on the table when the kids came in from school (they come home for lunch about half the time, and eat at school the other days).  Thursday afternoons I'm still on duty as the RVA doctor, so I headed up the hill after lunch to the weekly clinic for students.  But when that was over at 4, I WENT FOR A RUN with Star, plodding slowly along a narrow descending path through the woods, and then heaving even more slowly up a rough steep twisting road back home.  Then I made TACO SOUP for dinner.  Writing, baking, doctoring, exercising, cooking.  And mostly just the relief of  not having the tenuous fates of 20 tiny babies on my shoulders, not rushing to push through rounds and track their care while still worrying about the hundreds of RVA students and the needs of my family.  This, perhaps, is how normal people live their normal days.  It's nice.

Tomorrow beckons.  Prayer out among the flowers in our yard is my first hope, to listen to how I should use the gift of this time.  By Saturday we'll be back to the pressure and rush, early rounds, and on-call all weekend.  So looking for sabbath tomorrow, and hoping that I'll be able to keep the boundaries of sanity in this life.  Thank God for Mardi, an in-the-flesh testament to the God who hears and sees and knows our weaknesses.  If He plopped her here all the way from Australia, surely He will along with her freely give us all we need.


Heidi said...


Melissa said...

I think moms around the world are cheering you on-- what a fantastic start!