Tuesday, July 18, 2017

It's All About The Journey

It's been over a year since I've posted a new entry... have mercy..

I could go on for paragraphs and paragraphs explaining how crazy this past year has been.. but I will do you all the favor and break it up into a few different posts. 

There has been a lot on my mind and in my heart lately. I always have a lot to say, but I feel very compelled to say what is currently on my heart. Sometimes, there is a particular subject on my heart that I want to discuss.. but to avoid being impulsive and to make sure that it's really tugging at me, I give it a few days or weeks to build up.

Without explaining my whole life story over these past 13 months (I'll get into that later.) I want to share with you something that I have learned.

So.. a lot of us think about the future quite often. (Ok, but really.. ALL of us do).. we make these plans and goals moving forward.. hoping and praying that they work out just the way we want them to. It's excellent to have goals, aspirations and it's excellent to achieve what you want to achieve.. but a lot of us feel like we are losing our way if those plans don't work out perfectly. 

I have been guilty of this since I graduated high school 6 years ago. Plan after plan, destination after destination and target after target. Want to know something? Not one plan that I have made in the past 6 years has worked out. And you know what? That's okay.

We live in a society of comparisons. 

"That person went to college right after high school and got their degree in 4 years!"

"That person got straight A's in high school and got a full scholarship to Harvard!"

"That person got married at age 21 and already has kids!"

"That person has no health issues and nothing holding them back. They are so lucky!"

This was me. Constantly. The most difficult time for me was in May/June when everyone was graduating from college... receiving their bachelor's or master's degrees. I have watched people younger than me walk across that stage and complete their higher education.. while I'm 24 years old and only halfway through earning my associate's degree. It stung. I would go through spurts of jealousy and bitterness. I was happy for the individuals that accomplished these amazing achievements, but I also caught myself being selfish.

It's taken a lot of time, energy and exhausting emotions to come to the conclusion that everyone's journey is DIFFERENT. Did you hear that? Different. Nobody goes through the exact same journeys to reach their destinations... even if they are the same destinations. One thing I will say, is that the main common ground is that all achievements require hard work, determination, action.. but most importantly: faith.

Maybe you went right into the work force right after high school. Maybe you started college, and then decided it wasn't for you. Maybe you had to medically withdraw this semester or last semester. Maybe you had a family and had to tend to them. Maybe you're 40 years old and you still don't know what you want to be when you grow up. 

I'm not just talking about college.. I'm just giving that as an example. Whatever path you are on in life, it will be different than someone else's.

But how beautiful is that? Think about all of the people in the world. Billions of humans are on this planet, and everybody has a different story...a different journey. Even just typing that blew my mind. We are all unique in our own ways and our stories set us apart from everyone else. Trials and difficulties are a major part of our lives (we all go through hardships) but they help mold us into the wonderful humans that they are. 

I'm not trying to get off topic, but I need to say this: you will have positive life experiences. You will have negative experiences. You will laugh, cry, scream, smile and experience both happiness and pain. Often times, we wish that we would be taken out of difficult situations. Hey, we are only human.. it's natural to want our difficulties to be removed from our lives. 

I constantly use this quote, but it's my absolute favorite:

"The best way out is always through." - Robert Frost

Ok, you might be thinking that sounds crazy. How could going through a difficult circumstance be best for me?

It has taken a lot for me to really understand this. Hours of of praying, reflecting and writing.. talking with close friends, my church family and myself (You talk to yourself too, don't lie.).. and I still have to force myself to remember this sometimes.

Think about something in your life that was difficult to go through. How did it change you? Did it change your perspective? How did it help you grow? Did it help you learn to forgive? Did it make you more patient? Did it fuel your faith? Are you proud of yourself for getting through it? 

I'll go ahead and answer that last question for you. You SHOULD be proud of yourself for getting through whatever you have gone through.

When we are in the middle of a trial, it can seem impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It can seem impossible to be able to heal from it. It can seem impossible to ever have faith or hope again.

I have good news... It is possible.

You see, we don't always have clear answers for what we go through. If I had a dollar for every time I thought "Why me?", I would be able to quit my job and quit going to PA school.. I'd be rich.

Often times, those answers won't be revealed to us until much later, if at all. It's a scary feeling.. not knowing why things happen, what the future holds or whether or not we will be okay.

We walk by faith, not by sight.

Even when we don't see, we still believe.

If life was constantly rainbows and gumdrops, how would we develop inner strength? If we never encountered a negative situation, how would we gain perspective? If we have never been hurt, how would we be able to connect with and be there for others who are going through similar situations? If life was perfect, how would we truly appreciate the positive things that DO occur in life?

Every heartbreak, sickness, trial, trauma and negative situation plays a role in who we have become as individuals. Every experience becomes a part of us... it shapes us into the people we were meant to be and become.

How we face our problems and learn from them builds our character and wisdom.

Oh, come on... don't you want to be as "wisdomus" as Joey Tribbiani?!


When I first got sick 6 years ago, I thought my life was over.

Even flashing back to a year ago, I thought my life was in shambles.

After going through so much... I realized that I wouldn't be who I am today without my difficulties. I am grateful for the problems that I have encountered. I am thankful for the trials, the hardships and the tears that have been shed.

I grew in all of my difficulties.

I am probably making it sound easy and perfect. Well, it's not.. and it never will be. I have a long way to go, and I'm sure that I will have more moments of rain, thunder, storms and struggles. I will still fall down sometimes.. but we will always get back up when we lose our way.

6 years ago, I was (somewhat) of a normal 18-year old.

Okay, I have never been "normal".. and never will be, but you know what I mean.

As my illnesses have progressed over the years, I have struggled with seeing the light.. but as I reflect over the years, I realize that I am sick for a reason.

Yeah, being healthy would be ideal. Not being on 24 medications would be ideal. Not having multiple surgeries a year would be ideal. Not having stents all over my body would be ideal. Not seeing doctors constantly would be ideal...

But, wow. I am thankful.

We all go through different scenarios of what we want to do with our lives. I always wanted to go into medicine... mainly because of my incredible Granddad who was a very well-known cardiologist in the Greater Boston Area. I'm also a science nerd... If you locked me in an empty room with a biology textbook and a Merck Manual, I'd be in heaven. I always wanted to help people in need, and I love figuring out diagnostics.

It wasn't until my body started failing me that I knew medicine was truly my calling. Everything just made sense.. I have all of the respect in the world for (most) doctors, nurses, techs, EMT's.. anyone in the medical field that busts their butts to save lives.

I don't want to be a God. I don't want to bring glory to myself after diagnosing a patient or completing a successful surgery. It's not about me. It's about the patient.

I want to be there for my patients not only on a clinical level, but on a personal level.

I know that the "standard" rule for medical professionals is to not get too emotionally involved.

Lol... have you met me?

Ok, ok, ok.... I will try to be as professional as possible on the clinical side of things, but my experiences have made it impossible for me to not be invested in my patients. I don't want to march into the exam room or ER bay with my lab coat on and speaking in complete mono-tone.. Patients need to know that their doctors care.

My doctors have changed my life in many ways.. they are one of many inspirations in my life that have led me to this path to medicine. I will be completely honest... for me personally, if I was healthy.. I think that my future career and specific passions would be completely different. 

I don't know exactly what the future holds, when I will finish my degrees or when I will start my career.

There are a few things that I do know:

- Everyone's story and journey is different
- There's a time for everything.. even if it's not our own timing
- Everything we go through, we go through for a reason (It's cliche, but true)
- Sometimes our blessings come through raindrops
- We will always grow stronger in our difficulties
- You can and WILL get through anything that is thrown at you
- You are stronger than you know.. even if you don't realize it right now

No matter what you're going through.. you will get through it. There is purpose for your pain.

I hate to be the queen of cliches, but cliches are true. 

Waiting isn't a bad thing. Personally, I have a problem with focusing so much on the future, that I forget about the journey. The journey is what is beautiful. Take a minute to think about where you are now.. yeah, the future sounds great... but like I said, plans can change. That's why it's so important to cherish the journey. Be patient, my darlings. My wish for you is that you have peace in your heart, your mind and your soul. Everything will be okay, you will get through these difficulties and you WILL overcome. I believe in you.

Your life has meaning. Your life has purpose. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. You are precious. You are important. You are worth more than gold.

So do me a favor, smile tonight. Know that everything will be okay. Know that your own personal story (with both positive and negative components) are unique and beautiful... they make you, YOU.

I am sending love to each and every one of you.

- emily

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