One of my favorite quotes from Grey’s Anatomy comes from the first season, when Meredith and her new friends are drowning within the workload and drama of Seattle Grace:
“Okay. Anyone who says you can sleep when you die… Tell them to come talk to me after a few months as an intern. Of course it’s not just the job that keeps us up all night. I mean if life’s so hard already, why do we bring so much trouble on ourselves. What’s up with the need to hit the self-destruct button? Maybe we like the pain. Maybe we’re wired that way because without it… I don’t know. Maybe we just wouldn’t feel real. What’s that saying… Why do I keep hitting myself with a hammer? Because it feels so good when I stop. “
Those days that I sign up for an extra project, student, opportunity, or responsibility, the end of this quote will pop into my head as does the smile on Meredith’s face when she goes to sleep early at the end of the episode. The pain of the experience promises the relief when it is over. And the experience of relief challenges us to pick up the hammer again and do something good.
Why is this quote so prevalent on my mind this Saturday afternoon? Because I’m spending this sunny afternoon grading the end of one Bible course and the beginning of another. Because I woke up at 7am this morning (reminder: it’s Saturday) to go run 8 miles in preparation for my second marathon. Because in a few weeks I’ll return to Harrison Park to spend my second spring coaching for Girls on the Run. Because in July I’ll be traveling to California to start my doctorate program (fourth time I’ll be a “freshman” at a college).
With all of these new and somehow old projects, opportunities and responsibilities on the horizon, it feels more like picking up a jack hammer than just a piece of stick with a piece of metal on the end. I look at my calendar in wonder. How is this all going to fit together? And how did the middle school me with one friend in the world (literally), a stack of books to hide behind (also literal), and bunch of tactics to get out of PE end up with this life?
I’ll admit there are unmet dreams in my life, and struggles that I am praying for resolution on every day. But there is so much to smile at because it does not make sense (for example, why is my highlight for Presidents’ Day, a day off, joining a run that night) and because it somehow all fits who I am and who I want to be.