Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Case of Changed Identity

After several months of waiting, it's finally a reality. I'm back in the work field. 

Some months back, Rob and I decided, complements of the current recession, it would be a good plan for me to go back to work for a while to boost our capital. 

The decision was made just about the same time as Cec Murphey's invitation for me to attend the Florida Writers' Conference. (See below) Panic! Did I now have time to work and write?

The Lord was ahead of us. Isn't He always? I have a full-time night-duty post at a frail care. My work will be mainly supervisory, and of course the RN responsibilities. The final deciding factor? I have permission to write when the 60+ residents / patients are sleeping, which will hopefully be a good amount of the time. 

So we'll give it a go. It's a long time since I nursed adults. Heck, it's a long time since I nursed. But it all comes back and this is truly "real nursing". 

I spent a couple of hours there yesterday afternoon. The matron showed me the work I'd need to cover, and introduced me to the patients and staff. For the first half hour my thoughts were I can't do this! There's too much to remember. How do I tell her? 

Then she took me on a tour of the building and my thoughts changed to I need a map. I'm going to get lost. Worse, I'll lose a patient. 

The two floors have rooms on either side, plus of course a kitchen, bathrooms, sluice rooms, lounges and a beautiful chapel. There are a few rooms tucked away in strange places, and those are the ones that caused me to panic. 

After I left, I went and sat in a coffee shop and drank a strong cappuccino. I came to a number of conclusions:
  • The first week or so will be tough, and I'll have to keep writing notes and drawing diagrams so that I don't get lost or lose anyone.  
  • The first month or so will be tiring as I train my body to keep irregular hours. (Two nights on, two nights off. Alternate weekends of 3 nights.) 
  • Writing on duty may be difficult in the beginning until I gain confidence. But once I have established a routine, I may well get more writing done than I do now. No Internet!
  • The work is straight-forward and the hours should work well, once I get used to them. I just have to persevere.
  • The Lord found me the job, so He seems to think I can cope. Why has He placed me here?How can I best be a blessing to these folk? I look forward to learning the answers.
So Shirley Corder, freelance writer, is once again Sister Corder, or Sister Shirley as they'll call me at Nazareth House. I'm looking forward (I think!) to the change of identity, but the writer title stays with me too. I'm sure to get plenty of writing fuel from the lovely old folk that will be my charges.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Long Before any Red Case

Okay, so this photo goes back a "few" years. The uniforms are more practical today, our knees less flexible, and praise the Lord we don't have to try and keep those caps on our untamed hair.

In her latest blog, Marion refers to impressions. She wonders what sort of impressions we will leave behind after the Florida Christian Writers Conference in March 2010.

In 2010, South Africa is set to host the Fifa World Cup. Across the country we're seeing new or renovated stadia. Our road system is in chaos as new roads and bridges are built. New high-speed transport arrangements are being planned, buildings upgraded and general chaos prevails.

Unions and strikers have added to the mayhem and demanded higher pay on top of the critical state of finances world wide. At times it looks as if it'll take many miracles for the country to be ready.

For Marion and I, 2010 will be remembered as the year we attended the Florida Christian Writers Conference in America. We are already busy planning, upgrading and building as we work on our manuscripts and make travel arrangements. At times, for us too, it looks as if it'll take a miracle for us to be ready.

As if this is not enough, I am returning to nursing next month after a long break. I have been offered a post as night sister at a frail care here in Port Elizabeth.

When I first heard the hours, I said an emphatic "NO!" I work two nights on, two nights off. How will my system ever know whether it's on day duty or night duty? I wondered. Then I paused and thought, Wait! My system doesn't know whether it's on days or nights anyway. So what's new? I can take my laptop and work when my charges are asleep, so this could work really well.

Marion's post started me thinking about the memories we create as we go through life, and I dug out this old photo. Back row left is Brenny, who as far as I know is still in Zimbabwe. We've sadly lost touch. Di, grinning at the camera, was the first person I ever led to the Lord. That in itself was a miracle as I'd only been a Christian for a few weeks and had no idea what I was doing. Somehow the Lord overcame my fumbling and Di's decision"worked". She married a doctor and they served on the mission field for years.

Front row on the left is Moi (Moira) who was my flatmate for most of our training. She too came to know the Lord and she and Ray are in the ministry today, as are Rob and I. Three of the four of us, all serving the Lord. As for Archie? His spiritual state remains a mystery. I fear he is dead in his sins.

Indeed the years have gone past yet they hold some fun-filled memories. If I had them over, I would certainly do many things differently, but as the saying goes, "We pass this way but once". What's happened is over. We must keep moving forward.

So yes, Marion has a point. We only have one chance to prepare for the conference. We will only live 2010 once. Marion wonders how people will remember us. I ask, "What memories will we create?"

As we look back at the Florida conference, will we have happy memories? Will we remember 2010 as the year when ______ happened? As we look back will we know we achieved whatever the Lord planned for us? Will we have brought blessing to those we meet?

How about you? Are you preparing for 2010? Maybe you're also attending a conference, and how super if you join us in Florida. Whatever your future holds, one thing is sure. You will be creating memories. Will they be happy ones? Will others smile when they remember time spent with you?

What is your greatest dream for 2010? Have you thought that far ahead? Drop me a note and share your thoughts.

Till next week . . . Shirl who still hasn't got her red case. (If you don't understand the red case bit, read Marion's blog, or watch this space . . . )