That’s a Wrap: An Old Harding Nurse Embraces Change and Heads to the Farm
By Sloan Lowe
One of the great things about living in the state of Tennessee are the seasons…..right? Most of the time at least! Summers that are filled with floating on the river, backyard barbecues, firework celebrations, ice cold….popsicles. And then of course follows Fall. Pumpkins galore, fruity pebble trees, flannel everything, and football. The Holiday season arrives full of magic, chaos, (insert flu season much to everyone’s dismay), and so much candy. Winter is then upon us, with the hope of snow days, cozy fireplace movie nights, endless time indoors with your family members, and of course CABIN FEVER!! Finally, Spring returns bringing the sunshine and warmth we all so desperately wished for, as well as the flowers, rain, and all the baby animals. All of them. And the bugs. They are back. And sometimes they are cicadas who seem to be shrieking as they dive bomb the entire outdoor living space. But it doesn’t matter because you can be outside again for more than five minutes at a time!!! Ahhhhh the seasons. Present long enough to make you wish for the next one, but short enough to leave you anticipating their return. There is one season, though, that we have not yet covered. One that most people do not typically enjoy or eagerly anticipate, but one that does affect everyone. THE SEASON OF CHANGE.
Did anyone else suddenly become excessively uncomfortable? CHANGE. It can be such a lovely and harsh thing, often simultaneously. It can excite and disappoint, it can make one anxious, nervous, happy, sad, joyful, fearful. YOU FEEL ALL THE FEELS. Change is the one thing that is always happening around us, and happens to every one of us. From the moment you are born, change is occurring, and not a single moment is the same as the last. It boggles the mind and motivates our actions. This season of change is precisely where I am finding myself these days. A new house on the horizon, a new job as a school nurse in Rutherford County, a child who will be entering the school system next Fall. A new season of life that calls for all sorts of changes.
When I first met my husband in college at UT Knoxville (GO BIG ORANGE…..sorry Dr. Alsentzer….I had to sneak it in), he always talked about growing up on the family farm in good ole Christiana, Tennessee (where?). He spent his entire life there, in precisely one house ever. I had lived in at least five. He helped cut hay, mend fences, and feed cows. I worked at Sonic growing up (WITH roller skates), played sports, and went with my sister to the Cool Springs Mall on the weekends. He rode four wheelers, had camp outs with bonfires, and ate dinner with extended family every Sunday. I spent the night at my best friends’s house, prank called the radio stations, ordered pizza, and traveled with my parents. Although we led completely different lives, they were both wonderful childhoods. I never thought he would want ME to live THERE as we built our life together after graduating.
Farm girl? Not me. Never. I mean, I love all the animals, but just last week I tried to HELP an opossum find the way out of our fenced in backyard and it kept running into the gate instead of running through it, and then it would turn around and hiss at me! I cried my eyes out the very first time I hit a squirrel with my car in high school. It was in my neighborhood. I arrived to school so upset that my best friend thought my boyfriend had broken up with me. Nope. Just hit a rodent with my car is all. I can’t even pull ticks off my children. I just can’t do it. I am not afraid it will hurt them. It just creeps me out so much. Now I know I am a pediatric nurse, but guys, sometimes we have real feelings too. We aren’t just heartless shot givers. and parasites IN YOUR SKIN……see you later gator! But, back to the point. As time progressed, I continued to dig my heels in the ground when he would mention the farm, or our future living situation when the kids started school. I didn’t want to change anything. I was content, comfortable, safe. We had worked hard to provide a really fun and good life in Bellevue. In our cozy little split level home with our own traditions. My heart just resisted the urge to change anything. Until one day. One day I wasn’t so eager to leave the farm after we had been there all day on a Sunday. It was a slow realization in the weeks that followed that the desires of my heart were slowly changing. I can’t fully explain it, but I started listening to those little whispers…..those little nudges that you feel on the inside that push you in the way you were meant to go. I started to actively consider that this change could be a beautiful thing for my family. I let go of the idea of how I envisioned how my life was supposed to look in Nashville, and found that somewhere along the way I picked up a new dream. Going bananas is the answer!!! To me, going bananas means not waiting to live the life you want. Going for it even if you don’t have all the answers. Taking a giant leap of faith to better your family. Trusting those little nudges that push you out of your comfort zone. Deciding that one day is actually right now. Good thing we are bananas!!! Hoping the farm life is the best life as we make the big move to Rutherford County!
And while that has meant a lot of compromise, tears, hesitation, doubt, and questions, it has also meant a lot of excitement, joy, anticipation, happiness, sense of adventure and peace with our decision to move towards the farm. As I write this farewell blog post, I can’t help but let the tears stream down my face. I reflect on all the years well spent at Old Harding, with my wonderful coworkers who are more like family, who have watched me grow up and change as well over the last ten years. They have gifted me with the best thing of all….encouragement to go for it. They have held me tight, made me laugh, and dried my eyes through this season of change, and words cannot express how much I will miss them daily and love them forever. And to all of the families who have invited me into their world to help care for the most precious people in their world, I am so grateful and blessed. I see my own children in yours, and every time you walk out of the exam room I hope you know that I am wishing the best for them, as I do for my own. It has been a true privilege to participate in your care and watch you grow as a family. I will always be cheering you on!
So to sum it all up and say my goodbyes, I hope that you will choose to follow the season of change if it happens to calls you, knowing that it may not be easy, but it will be worth it! May you have the courage to go bananas too!