The best part of building a platform for yourself is the ability to honor your own values and share them with others. One aspect that I feel is routinely missing from medicine is the acknowledgment of Spirit. Spirit Sunday is a moment in the week to reflect, rest, and encourage.
The topic for this Spirit Sunday is surrender.
My journey to start Tedder Wellness has been one act of surrender after another. When I became a nurse, I had big career plans. I knew exactly the path I would take to become a nurse practitioner. Then in 2016, life handed me a plot twist. I had this intense knowing it was time for me to leave hospital nursing. I took a job teaching new nurses critical care, and I worked my last hospital shift on September 6, 2016. Surrender.
Two days later, my step-father received a stage IV lung cancer diagnosis. He was 78 years-old and opted out of treatment. He said, “I want to spend whatever time I have with my family.” With that statement from him, I started my next nursing job. I became his hospice nurse. For the next 3 weeks, I stayed with him around the clock. My mother and I would take turns on the night shifts. Surrender.
On one of these nights, I sat in the winged-back chair next to him. Listening to the whirling sound of his oxygen machine, and the prompting came again. This time the urging was for me to communicate my deep gratitude to my step-father. He was receiving medication every two hours, so I decided to patiently wait until it was time to give him his medicine. After medicating him, I knelt down before him and began expressing my gratitude. Surrender.
It was one of the most intimate moments in my life. I thanked him for always loving me unconditionally, for continually being proud of me, and for still believing in me. I told him he was an amazing father to my sisters and me. When I went to hug him, he said, “That was the nicest thing anyone has ever told me.” I wept off and on the remainder of that night. The ICU nurse in me knew it wouldn’t be much longer. On October 5, 2016, at 2:35 am, he passed so peacefully that I never stepped foot back into the ICU. Surrender
In the years that have followed his death, the plan for my life has not been clear to me. I have stayed in nursing, but not a traditional path. Quite honestly, at times, I have felt lost in my own career. Wanting to help others but unsure how or where to hang my nursing cap. Yet, one theme that has continuously followed me; surrender.
The word surrender often carries a negative connotation for a world demanding to be noticed, heard, and liked. In fact, surrendering can be viewed as settling into a comfortable space. However, this is not the surrender I am encouraging.
Conversely, surrender has taken on a new meaning for me. It means letting go of who we think we should be, what we think we should be doing in our careers, and where we think we should be headed in life. Instead, it is being open to exploring the purpose of whatever or whoever crosses our path. It is approaching life from a place of curiosity versus an all-out charge at achievement. It is allowing enough space in our lives to enjoy each day, loving our families deeply, and surrendering to the present.
Connection is vital to our mental health and wellness. Today, more than ever, we are digitally entrenched in false connections through social media. Breaking this cycle is hard work. However, I encourage each of you to set a surrender goal for this next week. It doesn’t matter how small the goal, just set one. Commit to putting down your device, turning off the television, games, or computer and have some real-world Facetime with the people you love or at least like!
Surrender and let the magic of life appear before your eyes.
Now, go forth and be awesome!The Hubs Tedder