Friday, September 19, 2008

To be molded

Soon after I graduated from school both Tom and I worked full time. We did grocery shopping together, I cooked, and he cleaned. It was a good coordination of a couple in love.

Soon after I had children I realized that I really did not enjoy the typical "home maker" duties. Everything I did seemed like I should be doing something with more meaning. I did enjoy being with my children, but even that I had limited capacity. I soon realized that I had to go to work part time and that brought me some self respect that I needed.

When Elizabeth was one year old, I had the compelling desire to be something outside of home. I started a small vending machine business with Barb. Within a year I moved onto network marketing. I had recovered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by using nutrition based products. I was excited. I went full force.

I was constantly running away from "home maker" duties. At that time I had no idea what was running me. It was just a few years ago, as I was doing theophostic work, I saw my mother's one desire; to mold me to raise me above what she was. She always told me, I will cook and clean so that you don't have to. You will have someone else taking care of upkeep of your home. She was happy to see me study. That meant someday I won't have her lot.

Yet I was surrounded by sisters-in-law who stayed home and loved taking care of their home. I desired that yet I could not be at peace with it. I hope my girls can be content in both worlds.


A couple of days ago I encountered a woman who caused me to think for the thousandth time the value of being a pharmacist. I realized once more that my ability to maneuver through the jungle of third party system was valued more than my ability to help the patients with drug knowledge.

All prescription filling is stopped when the insurance is not working. We may just lack the right codes for the hundreds of companies with unique codes which are being changed too frequently as one company is bought by another leaving the patient and the providers in a mangle of confusion.

As we were trying to fill two prescriptions for this woman's husband (whom I will call Bill), the insurance just would not accept all the information on the card for Bill. She was adamant that all her own prescriptions were paid for and it must be our fault that Bill's medicine were not being paid. After about fifteen minutes she was livid. I could see her irritation escalating to anger in her face. I asked my technician to tell her of the insurance denial..I guess I was too chicken to be yelled at. She demanded for the prescription papers and stormed out.

About an hour later a Walgreen pharmacist called me. He was not able to get her insurance to work for Bill and said that he wished we would not have sent her to them. Later a technician from Walgreen's (Sara) called my technician. Sara was so afraid...she was never treated so badly and she wanted to see how we fared. The woman told the Walgreen crew that we were more than incompetent, stupid and called us many more names. By the time the woman left Walgreen it seemed that she was even angrier. But she did learn that insurance covered her medicine but did not cover her husband's medicine.

I thought of our young people going to school for six years to be treated like this. What high ideals would young graduates have, to be smashed to the ground by such incidences which are all too common. I remember myself being deflated. I worked in hospitals soon after graduation. I did not have third party issues. It was before computer age. We filled little boxes all day. We wrote patient name, room number, drug name, and other pertinent informations. After we filled these little boxes someone else checked it to make sure right drug was going to right persons. It seemed like what I was doing was meaningless. Did I go through so much studying to be doing this? Where is my ability to be active in patient therapy?

Nurses often called us being very upset that medicine did not come up soon enough. Sometimes we were at the end of nurses' and doctors' anger making me feel like we were the dog that got kicked (dad comes home upset, yells at mom who yells at the kids then kids kick the dog.) If we do catch a doctor's mistakes with drugs, we had to be careful. If he was a vain doctor, you have to be able to receive his anger for touching his pride. One time I caught a serious mistake. I informed a doctor that this was a wrong drug with similar name. He was adamant that he knew what he was doing. He did not change the medicine for a whole twenty four hours then he changed to a correct drug. At least I was not yelled at.

Yet outside of work place there would be such respect for pharmacists. I often wondered of the discrepancy. I would often tell Tom that my work is not much different than the kids who serve hambergers at McDonalds. At least they are not chewed out for some third party not paying for their hambergers and fries.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My next door neighbors

At our Chicago home, we had neighbors on both sides who lived there just about as long as we did. To south of us (whom I will call Celmers), moved in couple of years before we did and to the north(whom I will call Halls), they moved in a couple of years after us.

I remember Mr Celmer who introduced himself as Robert. Later when I found out that he was cardiologist, I wasn't sure if I should call him Robert or Dr. Celmer. His wife Jenny was a nurse. Soon after we moved in, I noticed that they avoided us. To greet them, I had to catch their eyes and quickly smile or wave before they turned away. I think the whole twenty some years we lived there, I was always trying to catch their eyes. I had this "I need to get everyone to like me" syndrome. Tom soon ignored them. We watched their three children grow up as they watched our four children grow up. I tried to get one of their girls to baby sit my kids once or twice. My children asked me to never have her again. All she did was sit and watched my children. They were used to babysitters who loved being with them.

One time we got their socialist newspaper by accident. We wondered if their ideology was what caused them to be alienated with us. We had company often and that usually meant that a christian meeting followed with singing. We always wondered if that was the reason. I really wanted to have Jenny over for tea yet it seems so awakward to invite someone who was obviously avoiding me and my family.

One year I found Robert at the medical center where I was working as an oncology pharmacist. I saw him in the hall way. I was so surprised to find him there. I waved and greeted him. He was with his colleague as I was with mine. I introduced him to my supervisor, Mark and my technician Greta, as my next door neighbor. We exchanged few sentences. He couldn't avoid me by looking away. I learned from Mark that Dr. Celmer was friendly mainly to another physician who also was a socialist. I think that was the closest interaction I had with him in over twenty years.

To the north of us, we have a couple (Halls), who have become such good friends . We would spend hours talking to each other over the fence. Mimi was stay home mom always. They had their only son when Seth was three years old. Adam loved Seth in those early years. As the boys grew older the three year difference was too much and they grew apart. Mimi and I talked about everything. Tom and Brad also exchanged long discussions. His dad had written a well known christian book.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Wings to Fly 26 - Twenty Nineth Anniversary

Wings to Fly 26- Index

Today Tom and I have been married 29 years. Wow, it has been a long wonderful and painful winding road to here. To celebrate our special day we went to a local Mexican restaurant. It was a small restaurant with a few tables. The waitress seemed overly eager to please us. She offered us some Mexican soft beverage, tamarind pop with foreign taste. Lizy did not care for it. An older woman, somewhat heavyset with rolling waist line, mother of our waitress came. When she realized that Lizy did not care for this, she wanted to bring another one which passed Lizy's taste buds with flying colors. There was sign of relief and satisfaction in her face. She was so eager to please us. I think we will come back here.

It was delicious, every one of our meals. Tom and I looked at each other. Twenty nine years, Wow. We went through so much. We have been somewhat transformed. Our differences do not bring up so much abrasions. We have accepted each other, that both of us will continue to have our own unique traits, and in spite of it all we find that we still love each other.

Seth and Lizy was asking how we met, how long we dated, how old we were... It seems funny to talk about us...we were the college kids falling in love. At our marriage, I was younger than Christian and Tom was younger than Henna.

Wings to Fly 25 - My Christian Walk

Wings to Fly - Index

As I am considering my Christian walk, I am so thankful that I am here today. I just came home from a bible study with my neighbor, Deb and her friends. There were seven women. This is the first time I am in an on-going study started out by someone else other than those from my church. Such dear women and their pursuit to live Christ touches me deeply.

I am thinking of the last pot luck we had at Lizy's school. There was prayer before the meal. This would be very foreign practice in Chicago. I am starting to see God and His family much differently. He is working in so many people's lives to bring them together, to honor Him, to serve Him, yet in a profound way to take care of us to head up His plan.

I am considering our little church life here in Goshen. There are about dozen of us meeting. There were about forty in the gathering, before we moved here in 2006. There were something brewing for about two years in this small gathering. I hear that a couple from Southern California training center moved here few years before we came here. They realized that those in Goshen did not follow the program of the ministry that flowed from the west and tried to create the acceptable way to meet according to Southern California church leaders. Thus began the winds of unrest and questioning towards the local leadership here which eventually ended up dispersing the small congregation. Those members were blown and scattered in the wind leaving just a handful. This couple then moved back to southern California.

In this backdrop, we moved here. We were comfort to those remaining believers. Our little gatherings are so different than what I was used to in Chicago. As we go through a book in the bible, we all participate in a very different way. In the beginning I was not used to exercising my understanding. Everyone participated in the discussion. To my amazement, I am seeing the same verse or chapter in a new light. I recall that our meetings in Chicago, we would read the ministry material of respected leader's exposition and we discuss about it at the end. What contrast.

I am also thinking of Paul and Mary. They lived such sincere serving life in the local church in Streamwood. When they moved to Tennessee, they went to same local church that is the extension of Streamwood and Chicago. They were so willing to jump in and serve as they did in Streamwood. The local believers in that congregation had no heart to include all other dear Christians as joint partakers of God's riches. Yet they were sweet people. Out of the sense of being in a straight jacket, Paul and Mary left.

They found a church home with a vibrant Jesus loving group. This group began just one year prior to their moving with less than ten people. They hit one-hundred members the year Paul and Mary joined them. Today, three years later, they are three-hundred. Mary says she loves the church, the members, and the gathering. When they get together they enjoy being together so much so that they do not want to part. Out of the abundance of joy, increase occurred. Her understanding of God's family expanded.

I am considering, it was thirty years ago, maybe before that, we in the local church movement was increasing like that. I remember the joy of the Lord. Our enjoyment of Christ was infectious. Increase was happening and we didn't know where they came from. We were so free to love Christ and I was enveloped in God's love. As the years came and went, somehow our liveliness and vibrancy started to die out. Trying to live a very high doctrine, somehow lost me and in the process lot of wrong concepts filled me. Once we have tasted something so precious, we were still clinging to hope that this vibrant God will be real and living once more. Now I realize it is not God who has lost the vibrancy. It's us that has become old and embraced a teaching more than the Person of Christ.

These days I see Tom, enjoying the freedom in Christ. I am discovering who I am and who God is. I see the expanded view of God's family and I come to Jesus in gratitude. Everything needed to happen. When the leading brothers from Southern California quarantined a brother in the Midwest because he did not fit into their teaching and demand, it became clear. We could not be one with such group of leaders.

It is so good for us to move and to discover who we are. Tom knew he had to leave Chicago if he was to serve the God. He needed to have freedom to hear God's voice. I reluctantly followed him. Yet today, I am happy to be here. I am discovering more of me everyday. I am discovering God and who He is every day.

It seems amazing that for me all the teachings, regardless how deep and high they were, cannot be compared to simple love for Christ and His Word. I am also experiencing God digging out of me from the crevices of my heart, the fears and the wrong beliefs about Him. Each time He does that, the freedom, and the joy is experienced.

I would like to visit Tennessee and find out what they are doing to have such abundant fruit, which is the expression of God's enjoyment manifested.