When I was a teenager, I went whitewater rafting with my youth group. I remember the frigid rushing water and the exhilaration of paddling and careening through rapids.
I have that sensation these days. I’m hanging on for dear life half the time, letting the swirling currents rush me along because what else can you do?
The twelve-hour shifts feel like sensory deprivation and sensory overload at the same time. You sit and wait in silence for the phones to ring. Then the phones ring and you bob along on the current of someone’s small or large drama. What is the address of your emergency? What phone number are you calling from? Tell me exactly what happened.
And then after three days, you’re spit back into your real life, sorting through piles of laundry and Rubbermaid containers of congealed casseroles and unopened mail. And the three days you aren’t at work are gone in a flash and it’s time to get back into uniform and drive to work again. But at least there are groceries in the fridge and clean towels folded in thirds.
Three months are gone and you’re still looking for a branch to grab so you’re not swept into the next decade before you get a good look around.
Just keep swimming. Or paddling. Or whatever it takes to keep afloat.
(In other news, my youngest child starts her sophomore year of high school on August 15. She’s taking her driver’s permit test on Thursday. She’s ready to get on with her life . . . and she’s never believe me if I told her how fast it will all go by. What’s the hurry, baby girl?)