As a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), this past year and a half has challenged me professionally in ways I never thought possible. A role that I once felt confident in suddenly left me feeling scared and unsure. We were learning new things about the virus everyday. CDC recommendations and hospital policies seemed to change daily, even hourly. All elective surgeries were cancelled and staff were reassigned to ICUs made out of operating rooms and recovery bays. Supplies that we previously used like candy were suddenly gone or on shortage or back order without a timeline of when they might return. Visitors and non-essential workers were absent from our once bustling hallways. Staff who remained in the hospital practiced social distancing unless necessary for patient care, so activities like breaks and lunches that once were social became isolated. It felt like a ghost town.
Working in close proximity to people's mouths and airways, as well as performing and being present for aerosolizing procedures put myself and those around me at greater risk of contracting COVID-19. This, of course, brought me a significant amount of stress. I was scared of the unknown, scared that I'd unknowingly expose my patients to the virus or somehow bring it home to my family. I was also scared that my job and life would never be the same. Everyday was stressful. Everyday was frustrating and frequently tearful.
Amidst the chaos around me and the pandemic that consumed me, I was often reminded that this is not my home. I was not created to live a life of disease and death, nor does God want me to live in fear, worry and anxiety. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. Doesn't that sound amazing? To live with the "peace of God, which transcends all understanding." It transcends all of the understanding we have on life, health, science, and even SARS CoV-2. His peace can transcend all of my worries, anxieties and fears.
But we don't ask. We don't bring our requests to Him through prayer or petition, with thanksgiving. We put our heads down and get busy with our lives, focus on our work/families/communities. When we worry or have a concern, we try to find a way to fix it or work around it on our own. We forget to look UP to the only one who can give us true peace. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” This is a love note to us. Jesus is offering to take our worries and burdens about life, work, family, the pandemic, etc. He is calling us into His embrace, wanting to take our anxieties in exchange for rest. Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling for us. May each of us find rest in Jesus, our true home.