When I made the move to the operating room, I did so in a level 1 trauma center. I went through a 6 month training course. It was more than challenging. It was terrifying. It was exhilarating. It was really hard. I cried everyday for the first five years. Every time I cried, someone would tell me I needed to toughen up. And toughen up I did.

I work with a tough crowd. But the toughest work in the trauma centers. And with good reason. We see things that people should never have to see. Working in the trauma center is as close to war as one can be in a civilian setting. So much so, that military surgeons get sent to the level 1 trauma centers for fellowships, to prepare them for combat zones.

But a marvelous thing happened to me ten years ago. Jesus. The Lord pulled me out of the pit of hell and placed me back on solid ground. Since then, he’s been chipping away at my super hard exterior, making me more compassionate toward the ones who toughened me up, the co-workers who chastise me for being human, crying.

Now the challenge I face is to be the hands and feet and heart of Jesus to patients and co-workers alike, to silence the voice in my head that says

They’re not worth the trouble. You’re too nice for them. They made you too mean for Mercy Ships. Now you don’t fit in anywhere at all!

It is not easy, this changing into the person God created me to be, believing I can be  light in a dark place where we witness so much sadness. But I must try. I must choose to pray for my co-workers the way Jesus prays for me. I must choose to silence the voice. Everyday.

This is day 24 of 31 days of five minute free writes. Be sure to head over to Kate’s blog to participate or read along or both.