Friday, October 22, 2010


I'm writing this at 7:57 pm Thursday night with the intention of posting it tomorrow morning for you to read.  I'm in the middle of my first night call for work.  By now, dear reader, I am no longer on-call and I am breathing a huge sigh of relief.  Can I tell you how much I have not missed on-call?  I haven't been on-call since the beginning of May and it has been a luxurious break.

Anyone who has been on-call before can relate to the pit in your stomach, the nervous energy that swirls about during those hours.  Waiting. Anticipating. Wondering when the pager will go off, if it will go off.  Then, what will you have to do?  It could be quiet.  It could be back-to-back.  You never know.

What I'm realizing tonight is that as much as I hate being on-call, it brings me closer to God.  I tend to pray throughout the day but when I'm on-call I'm praying every time I look at the clock.

Thanks, God.  I've been on-call for 27 minutes now and the pager has stayed quiet! 

Waking up in the middle of the night: Thanks, God, for letting me sleep 4 uninterrupted hours.  Then rolling back over to sleep until my alarm, hopefully not my pager, wakes me up.

Answering the call: Please, God, help me know what to say and do!

Afterward: Thank you, God, for helping me do this.  Please work in their lives and draw them closer to you.

Post-call: Thank you for getting me through another on-call.

Scripture comes to mind often when I'm on-call, especially regarding my on-call anxiety.
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13
When I get called out, this is the verse I cling to.
And God is able to do make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  2 Corinthians 9:8
Actually, I cling to that verse every day.  So much of what I do is simply being present to others in pain. Any effect I have on them is not based on anything I do.  It's God enabling me and shining through me.

When I get called for something and I feel like I'm in over my head?
So do not fear, for I am am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
I find that when I focus on God and remember that any calls I get have already been sifted through His fingers, the anxiety lessens. Right now it's sharper because this is my first night call for this job. I really don't know what to expect.  This is different from the end of my on-call with hospice, in which I didn't like being on-call but had done it enough times to know the types of calls I could get.  On-call is unfortunately a necessary evil to any social work job, until budgets are not longer an issue and separate on-call staff are hired.  (What a lovely dream!)  I think after a few more day calls, a few more night calls, and my first weekend call (yikes!), I'll have a better understanding of on-call when it comes to my new job.

In the meantime, I'm clinging to God and wondering how this hyper-awareness of His grace and strength can translate to my every day life.
Windy Poplars

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