I’m sorry that I haven’t written my short story lately, readers. I honestly haven’t worked on it in weeks. Each day that I’m planning to, it seems errands take up more space in my mind. Every time I have a chance to sit down, I’m exhausted and don’t want to use my brain. If anything I just want to sleep.
I know this isn’t a typical post for me. I’m sorry about that. But the truth is I do have something to say, something that I can’t seem to articulate into a beautiful poetic verse or a nice bit a elusive prose.
I guess all I really have to say is that I’m tired.
It’s not the kind of tired that goes away when you sleep.
My soul is tired. My spirit, mind, and body are tired. My bones may ache when I lay down, my feet may swell when I stand on them for most of a 12 hour shift, but the physical exhaustion is not the worst part.
Because my heart is tired.
As I leave my house each day to drive to the hospital in downtown Baltimore, I’m tired of seeing police cars and crime scene tape. I’m tired of walking into the hospital and giving all of myself to my patients. I’m tired of the gunshot victims pouring into the hospital as if Baltimore is some kind of death factory. I’m tired of caregiving, not just for the critically ill, but also for myself, my husband, my animals, and the fetus growing inside me that will one day be my child.
I’m just so fucking tired.
My heart no longer aches for the suffering in the world. Instead I am angry that I am forced to confront the suffering at all. I am angry that my tiny effort to make the world a better place seems to go nowhere. Because there will always be suffering. There will always be more suffering for me to shoulder, more battles for me to fight, more darkness for me to face.
I feel as though the world is burning down around me, and I have a pitcher of water, half empty, with which I try to quench the flames.
And I feel as though it never works. The fire isn’t quenched. It’s all consuming and devours everyone, and my feeble attempt to extinguish it goes nowhere. But it’s my job, my job is to extinguish one tiny fire at a time, so I have to keep doing it. I pour from an empty cup at this point. There’s nothing left of me to give. There’s no water left in the pitcher, so I douse the flames with my own body, instead. There’s no heart, no compassion, no emotion. Just the job.
I believe every nurse must go through this during their career. So I believe I will get through it. So excuse me while I’m calloused and tired over here in my corner of the world. I just need a little time to find myself again.
-P.S. I will try to *at least* start working on my short story again this next week. Thanks for the patience.
-Jennifer K Fuka