word of the day: lie \ˈlī\ to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive; to be in a helpless or defenseless state
I have a love-hate relationship with medical school. I hate it mostly. And I love to talk about how much I hate it. That’s really the extent of the relationship.
|Lily feels similarly. She also makes this face ALL the time now. It is hilarious/making me feel like I should smile more or something.|
We live at the mercy of tests and doctors and uncertain hours. Jake and I recently had a conversation in which we ranked our upcoming months on a scale of bad to terrible. Bad felt very manageable which tells me I’ve come a long way in our almost six years of marriage.
There are times, though, when the pressure of the current and upcoming realities of medical school start to feel unbearable. And it’s in those moments that a small voice whispers in my ear, “I didn’t sign up for this.”
It’s an “I” and not a “you” because the best lie makes you believe that you came up with it on your own. The lie is easier to detect when it comes from somebody else.
Now, I could probably write a 328 part series about the lies I believe on any given day. Lately, this just seems to be the one that weasels itself in most frequently.
I was reminded today of an excerpt from one of my favorite books, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. In a chapter titled “The Thing about a Crossing” he speaks straight to my feelings:
It’s like this when you live a story: The first part happens fast. You throw yourself into the narrative, and you’re finally out in the water; the shore is pushing off behind you and the trees are getting smaller. The distant shore doesn’t seem so far, and you can feel the resolution coming, the feeling of getting out of your boat and walking the distant beach. You think the thing is going to happen fast, that you’ll paddle for a bit and arrive on the other side by lunch. But the truth is, it isn’t going to be over soon.
The reward you get from a story is always less than you thought it would be, and the work is harder than you imagined. The point of a story is never about the ending, remember. It’s about your character getting molded in the hard work of the middle. At some point the shore behind you stops getting smaller, and you paddle and wonder why the same strokes that used to move you now only rock the boat. . .The shore you left is just as distant, and there is no going back; there is only the decision to paddle in place or stop, slide out of the hatch, and sink into the sea. Maybe there’s another story at the bottom of the sea. Maybe you don’t have to be in this story anymore.[…]
I think this is when most people give up on their stories. They come out of college wanting to change the world, wanting to get married, wanting to have kids and change the way people buy office supplies. But they get into the middle and discover it was harder than they thought. They can’t see the distant shore anymore, and they wonder if their paddling is moving them forward. None of the trees behind them are getting smaller and none of the trees ahead are getting bigger. They take it out on their spouses, and they go looking for an easier story. (177-179)
“Oh, but Jake is almost done with medical school. You’ll arrive at the other shore soon enough, and you’ll look back and realize all that paddling was worth it.”
See, that’s the thing. I’ve been thinking about that phrase, “I didn’t sign up for this” and have been wondering what exactly I DID sign up for. What did I expect? Easy? Because when has it ever been particularly easy?
Jake’s doctorate isn’t the shore I’m paddling toward. It’s an island. It’s a milestone. I’ll be the first to kick medical school out of the boat when we get there but am not blind to the fact that something will take its place that will again cause me to feel like I'm entitled to something different.
But it’s like Miller said: “The point of a story is never about the ending, remember. It’s about your character getting molded in the hard work of the middle.”
The first eight definitions of the word “lie” have to do with something that remains motionless. Helpless. Defenseless. That’s what happens when we believe a lie isn’t it? It is meant to paralyze us. Take away our direction. Keep our boat in place.
It always helps me once I detect the lie. Instead of a weight that hangs heavy around my heart, it becomes a fly that just needs swatted away once in a while. It’s still annoying, yes, but it’s not enough to keep me from paddling.
And so, I guess I’ll get molded into a better person or whatever. But do NOT ask me to start sitting with medical school at lunch.
I hate that guy.