At Family Camp this year, Jill Briscoe asked if God had ever taken away one of our dreams. She told a story about how she had dreamed that her mother would visit her in the US, but her mother died before she ever made that visit. Jill talked about mourning the loss of that dream and how God gave her new dreams.
I’m mourning the loss of my medical career, at least the way that I knew it. If I do go back to the practice of medicine, it won’t be practicing medicine the way that I was used to. I won’t deliver babies again or do hospital work. If I practice medicine again, it will probably be outpatient medicine only. Long hours and late nights don’t go well with someone with headache issues!
Only in the last year or so have I been willing to face that reality. I went through high school and college with the intention of going to medical school. I had a few thoughts of other career trajectories – a piano teacher said that I should consider a music career and I debated getting a PhD in Sociology and becoming a researcher and professor. But, in the end, I went to medical school and enjoyed it (well, as much as one can enjoy sleeplessness and general abuse). I loved being a family doctor. I felt like part of the community. Sure, the work was hard, but it was a good kind of hard.
Now that I’ve been out of it for so long, I’m not sure that I want to go back, though. Going back into medicine after being away for a long time is really hard. And running a yarn shop is allowing me to tap into some creative parts of me that I didn’t know even existed until recently. I’m not concerned about my education being “wasted”. All education is a good thing; besides, it gives me an extra advantage in educating my kids.
I’m still mourning, though. It’s a loss. At least my counselor says so. And she encourages me to have my feelings even though I really don’t like feeling sad. (Why can’t I just say “oh, well” and move on?)
The Bible has plenty to say about mourning and then about being renewed.
In this section of Jeremiah, the Jews have been carried off into exile. Nobody is happy about the situation. But, God has Jeremiah prophesy that He knows what is going on and that He will eventually take care of things. Earlier in Jeremiah 29, Jeremiah’s letter tells the exiles that God wants them to settle in the land of exile and live patiently because God is control and has plans for them. In chapter 30, God (through Jeremiah) acknowledges their weeping and mourning and tells them that He will eventually turn it into gladness. Note that He doesn’t say to “get over it” or “be happy”, but to wait expectantly because He is in control.
The same message is given in the New Testament. In the Beatitudes, Jesus says “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). We are told that Jesus mourned the death of Lazarus (John 11:35). Jesus also tells us “In this world you will have trouble. But, take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
I’m mourning right now. While my emotions may be up and down (also partly a casualty of the migraines), I can hang on to the promises that those who mourn will be comforted and that Jesus has overcome the world. Besides, I love the yarn shop. I think that one day I’m going to look back and say that medicine was the early part of my life and yarn is the later part and Jesus is all through it.
Have you had any dreams that you had to give up? How did you handle it? What are your favorite scriptures when you are mourn?