Consider This Smoke Signals

Darling Creepers (read: Parents),

I am still alive. Don’t worry.

I know I haven’t called you. Or texted you. Or emailed you. Or written letters. Or used smoke signals. But I’m still breathing, and the trusty heart is still doing its thing!

I haven’t quite died of exhaustion, studying, and general life without you yet. This is probably only because Twin and Turtle cook for me, though. Otherwise I’d be a super-dead, gross, starved thing.

Also, because of the rule that I have to wear evil, nasty pants in all common areas, I think I’m becoming more acclimatized to wearing pants. Sure, after a full day of being out and about with people and classes and things, the only thing I can think about is going home and taking my pants off, but I’m actually wearing sweatpants in common areas now. I’m calling it an improvement. I know Twin and Turtle are thankful.

School is still bluh. It will always be bluh because I’ve passed the years of nap time, crayons, and glitter.

But let’s think about this for a minute – I think I would learn everything I’m learning a whole lot better if there were snacks and glue sticks involved. I’m not really sure how to fit stickers and coloring books in with learning about the intrapartum period of pregnancy (gross), but I’m sure a creative teacher could figure it out.

Also, I just wanted to let you know that, if you ever want grandchildren, they’re going to have to come from one of your other children. I have learned waaaaaaay too much in the past few weeks about what those tiny monsters do to your body to ever willingly let one steal half my blood supply and feng shui my vital organs.

Uh-uh. Ain’t happening.

And Twin won’t be having any kids either if I can ever get her to listen to my dire warnings. Those things are nasty. And they smell funny.

Princess Sweet Beans is your only hope. Not that he can ever have kids personally, but you know, he might get married one day. Maybe?

It might be best just to not count on grandkids?

At least I’m warning you now…

Anyway. That was a little off topic.

I just wanted to let you know that I’m still kicking, things are going great, I’m tired, I miss you, and I still like you a whole lot.

And, you know, it’s really a good thing that I haven’t been writing here.

I write to order my thoughts. I write when things don’t make sense. I write when I’m overwhelmed and I need to understand things. I write because my brain is all sorts of jumbled up, and if I can just get it all out somewhere in a cohesive manner, I can make sense of it. I write because my brain is not always my friend, and it doesn’t always make a lot of sense.

If I can write something, I can understand it. If I can jump inside it and accurately map out my thoughts, I can successfully navigate myself through them. That’s part of why my thoughts don’t always seem finished – they’re not. I’m still trying to find my way through them.

So why am I writing tonight? Because tonight I’m a little homesick, and I didn’t want to call you at 10:30 at night. You’d probably panic and assume that I was either dead or in jail for trespassing (I haven’t done that any this semester so far. No worries.) when I just wanted to chat about normal things.

So I’ll probably have another cup of coffee and study some more, then go to bed. I had a test this morning that was really awful, and I’ve got my first OB test next Wednesday. Not looking forward to that.

So I need to study. And I should probably go to bed sometime tonight. But I definitely need to water my plants. Poor creatures.

But don’t worry. The semester’s getting all kinds of busy, so I’ll be writing a lot more here soon.

All this to say, I love you, I miss you, and I’ll probably call you soon!

Love,

Your favorite daughter (It’s okay to admit it. We all know it’s true.)

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Plans for the Future

I’m so exhausted in so many different ways.

Mostly, I’m dreadfully tired of school and studying and clinicals and having to wake up at a decent time every morning and being forced to function nicely and cheerfully before 10am.

I don’t like being stressed out. I don’t like getting grades. I don’t like getting up at 4am. I don’t like having to pay bills. I don’t like sitting down for 2-3 hours at a time. I don’t like being forced to wear shoes. I don’t like having to pile all of my extremely heavy hair on top of my head and getting headaches. I don’t like being tired. I don’t like studying. I don’t like not knowing things.

But I have a beautiful plan to make everything all better.

I’m going to drop out of school and become a warrior nun.

This will fix all of my problems. All of them.

Warrior nuns don’t go to school. Well, not like nursing school. They go to warrior nun school to learn how to be a warrior, but I’ve seen Batman, Equilibrium, Karate Kid, Kung Fu Panda, and Mulan, so I’m probably good there. I think I can just skip that part.

Warrior nuns don’t have to worry about men. After all, they’re nuns. Nuns aren’t allowed to get married. This means, men will never be an issue.

Warrior nuns get to do cool warrior things. They don’t do boring, tiring, awful nursing school things.

Warrior nuns have nunchucks. Need I say more about this?

Warrior nuns can have terrible hair days, and no one ever knows. I mean, really. Have you seen those things they wear on their heads? No one even knows if they have hair or not. If you’ve ever seen my hair on a bad day, you know, sometimes it’d be really nice to just slap on a wimple and go about my business. That would significntly reduce the number of screaming children and old women going, “Excuse me, but I think there’s some creature roosting in your hair.”

Warrior nuns have snack room. Those dresses they wear are kinda loose. That means they’d be perfect for hidden pockets full of snacks (like cookies). I think that sounds absolutely delightful.

Warrior nuns get plenty of sleep. Because who is going to want to wake up someone who could kill you with either their bare hands or a quick word up to God for some lightning? That would be dumb.

Warrior nuns don’t get stressed out. If something stresses them, they kill it. It’s simple, and I wish it was legal because I’d be destroying a whole lot of things right now.

Warrior nuns do whatever they want to. Who’s going to tell a murderous nun that they have to wear shoes or wake up at a certain time or take tests or anything? No one. That’s who.

Warrior nuns know everything. Have you ever heard of a warrior nun with a knowledge deficit? I didn’t think so. Have you ever even heard of a warrior nun? No? That doesn’t matter. I’m still right.

Warrior nuns don’t have to pay bills. They are, after all, nuns. No one makes nuns pay for things. That’s just mean. (I know there are some evil people in this world who make nuns pay for things, but that’s why there needs to be more warrior nuns – to get rid of those people.)

Warrior nuns have it made. That’s why I’m going to drop out of school and be one.

But I’m going to have to wait until next week because everyone knows you can only make a big life-change on a Monday.

The Other Ruth

I’ve always been one of those kids who has major problems with her middle name. (I guess I shouldn’t have made that gender-specific because lots of guys don’t like their middle names either. Like my brother. But I don’t know why because he truly has the coolest middle name ever.)

It’s a perfectly normal middle name; I shouldn’t be so bothered by it.

I was named after my great-grandmother. Her name was Mary Ruth. Twin got her first name as a first name, and I got her middle name as a middle name. That’s just how it went.

(So, if you didn’t catch that, my middle name is Ruth.)

Now, if I was just named after my great-grandmother, that’d be super. She’s an amazing woman, and I really admire everything I know personally and I’ve heard about her. I’m truly honored to be named after such a strong, courageous, smart, beautiful woman of God.

I have always had problems with The Other Ruth, though.

See, when people learn my middle name, they don’t know I’m named after my great-grandmother. They automatically go, “Oh! Like Ruth from the Bible!” And, of course, I say, “Yes.”

What I really want to say is, “No. I’m named after my great-grandmother – an amazing woman I greatly admire who actually did something with her life. I’m not named after a woman whose only claim to fame is that she got married and gave birth to the line of David.”

Apparently, though, you’re not supposed to say things like that to people when they’re just being nice. And some people don’t like you talking about The Other Ruth that way.

I never understood The Other Ruth’s story. Sure, I read it. It was taught to me in Sunday school. I understood that it was about faithfulness and leaving behind everything you know for someone you love and family and caring for each other. I understood that.

I understood that there must have been struggle there. Moving’s never easy. I understood a vague concept of hardship. They were pretty alone for a while, after all.

Until very recently, though, it was, for me, just a story about a woman moving to a new place and getting married and having kids. That was it. I found nothing to admire in The Other Ruth.

Last Friday morning, The Other Ruth and I had a long heart-to-heart. I came to understand some things about her I just wasn’t grasping before. The Other Ruth explained some things to me, and they really sank in this time.

Last Friday morning (all of last week, really), I was having a really hard time. I had moved back to school, and I was miserable. I didn’t want to be back in Cookeville; I wanted to be home with my family and friends where it’s comfortable and familiar. I had community back home. I belonged there. I absolutely, positively, decidedly did not want to be in Cookeville.

I felt like I didn’t belong in Cookeville (at least not anymore). I felt all alone except for Twin, who was also having a really hard time. We spent a lot of our time taking care of each other because we were both miserable.

In the middle of all that – while I was complaining to God about not wanting to be where I was and not wanting to be nice to an also freaking-out Mary and not wanting to take the super hard tests I had coming up – The Other Ruth popped up.

“Read my story again,” she demanded.

Always ready for an excuse to not study, I told her I would and whipped out my Bible.

And almost fell out of my chair.

The Other Ruth was showing me up.

Her husband died. She left everything behind. She went to a completely foreign place where she probably wasn’t even welcomed because she was a Moabitess (or whatever the proper title for her is). She had to work to feed her and her mother-in-law.

She was humble. She was gracious. She was kind. She was patient. She was courageous. She was obedient. She was brave.

Yeah, she ended up getting married, but that’s not the point.

She stayed strong when she was somewhere, I imagine, she didn’t really want to be all the time. She took care of and was kind to her mother-in-law even though that probably wasn’t very easy all the time. She was brave and strong and did what she had to do, knowing, the whole time, she wasn’t alone.

The Lord was with her. He took care of her. He sent her the people she needed when she needed them. He worked in her life. She stayed faithful. And, then look, she got to be the mom to the whole line of David.

I am nothing like The Other Ruth. I am nowhere near the amazing person she was. I am, after all, complaining because I get to be at school and further my education so I can do what I want with my life.

I have so many things to learn from The Other Ruth. I need to learn to be content where I am. I need to learn to be brave in the face of things I don’t want to do. I need to learn to be humble. I need to learn to graciously take care of others around me who are struggling too. I need to learn to let God use me.

I’m proud to be named after The Other Ruth. She was a strong, courageous, smart, beautiful woman of God. I think I’m okay with my middle name now.

Probably. There’s still a tiny bit of me that thinks it’s a weird name, though.