March 3, 2013
Namaste: the image of God in me recognizes that the image of God is in each one of you.
I grew up on the west coast of America, and was given every advantage for a safe life, a good education, and physical and financial security. What I lacked, however, was parenting and mentors, as my parents were so busy pursuing their interests, they were never around. A teenage girl raising herself can be a scary thing. I almost threw away my opportunities during my teen years through irresponsible, self-destructive living. At age 20, I began to come to my senses, and started nursing school. I graduated from Loma Linda University at age 24 in 1981.
I was married and worked in intensive care at a local hospital. I loved my job, but soon had two small children, and realized that nurturing human lives was far more important work. I quit my job in 1986 and for the next 16 years, raised and home-schooled my five sons. I was also called to midwifery, eventually becoming licensed to practice in the state of Oregon.
In 1996, six weeks after the birth of my youngest son, I learned that my husband had been living a double life throughout our marriage. His "secret life" was one of lying, cheating, and stealing. I was devastated. With the help of good books, good mentors, and divine guidance, I began hoping for the best, while preparing for the worst. I gathered my courage and took positive action.
I searched for away to pursue a dream of being an FNP-family nurse practitioner. Through a series of providential events, I began a masters program through Oregon Health and Science University, graduating in 2005 with a masters in nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner degree. I also took up running as a means of stress relief, and completed 6 marathons over the next seven years.
As a child, I used to leaf through the pages of National Geographic, and was stunned by pictures of the people and villages of Nepal. My heart felt as if I would be perfectly at home there. Into my adult years, I dreamed of providing midwifery and health care to those women. In 2011, my dream came true: I traveled to Nepal, and was able to make friends and provide health care in a rural village, as well as trek through the Annapurna region with a group of amazing people. My soul had come home.
Six months after returning from Nepal, I learned my husband had been arrested for his lying, cheating and stealing. It was not only me he had been betraying! Then, without my knowing, he cashed out our retirement savings, opened secret bank accounts, and was due to go to trial. God was looking out for me though! Earlier that year, my house was refinanced, I obtained a new car (with no debt), and my student loans were paid off by the National Health Service Corps.
The break up of a 30 year marriage is similar to a death: the pain of grieving sometimes feels unbearable. But I can do this. Today I continue to work as a family nurse practitioner, in a federally qualified community health center (FQHC), where I am blessed to care for people of all ages, regardless of ability to pay. Three sons are grown, college graduates, and married, one is a student at the University of Oregon, and one is an amazing 16 year old who makes me laugh and infuses my life with joy. I have three beautiful grandchildren. I have an amazing community of women friends who inspire and encourage me daily.
And in 11 days, the 16 year old and I will board a plane for Nepal.