Until Brighter Days Come, Adversity Has Purpose

My first job out of nursing school (a long time ago), was working as a Registered Nurse at a hospital in Chicago, IL.

I worked the night shift in perinatal nursing or high-risk obstetrics.  Meaning women who were experiencing some type of complication during pregnancy.

I’d come home at 8am, sleep for a few hours and then go to classes during the day to finish my bachelor’s degree. After class and homework, I’d try to sleep a few hours in the evening before going back to work again at 11pm and do it all over again the next day.

It was a tough time because I struggled to get enough sleep. My life revolved around work, classes, homework, and attempts to sleep.

I constantly felt exhausted. It was probably one of the hardest times of my life as the constant fatigue affected my mood and I struggled with anxiety. I focused on earning my degree, hoping for something more fulfilling after I finished. Even though I had no idea what that something would be.

The hope for a better future kept me going.

Fast forward to this summer, August, 2020 when I was facilitating a virtual training with a group of perinatal nurses from a national nursing association.

One of the nurses was sitting in an office in Chicago, IL where through the zoom screen I immediately recognized the buildings in the window behind her. She confirmed she was sitting at an office at Children’s Memorial Hospital.

That is significant because Children’s Memorial Hospital is on the same property that used to be the apartment building I lived in those many years ago that was adjacent to the hospital I worked at.

I had goose bumps.

In that moment, my mind flashed back to that time of struggle when I was working the night shift in perinatal nursing. Now today, in 2020, I’m in a career that I love helping teams come together. On that day in August, it was a perinatal nursing team…the area of nursing I started out in.

My hope of putting in the hard work to create a better future had become a reality.

This blog is my second of my annual tradition of reflecting on three questions:

  1.      What are you grateful for?
  2.      What was the highlight of your year?
  3.      What wisdom would you pass on to from a life lesson you learned this year?

My highlight of 2020 was that day in August when I realized my career had come full circle. Those many years ago when I was struggling to get through the day and quite frankly even know my purpose.

Have you had times in your life when you were struggling to find purpose?

Are there times right now that the uncertainty of when this pandemic will end is causing you anxiety about the unknown?

Has 2020 knocked you to your knees?

For me, when I face times of adversity, this verse from the Bible keeps me going:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”     – Jeremiah 29:11

During that time in my life, I couldn’t fathom how I was going to get through the drudgery of long days and lack of sleep to find a career that was fulfilling. All those years ago, speaking and leadership coaching wasn’t even a dream!

I had no idea I would move from Illinois to Pennsylvania and someday use my background as a nurse to help nurses struggling to get through the 2020 pandemic.

Right now we are in the midst of lots of uncertainty and adversity. Until brighter days come, I hope my story encourages you to find purpose and to keep your head held high.

Despite the struggles of 2020, what has been your highlight?

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