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Lives of Doctor Wives: Survivor Stories: Naked Eggs and Other Thoughts on Moving and Change

Monday, March 24, 2014

Survivor Stories: Naked Eggs and Other Thoughts on Moving and Change

 I wrote this last summer, when our family of four was moving to a new city for the third time in eleven years, following the path of my husband's medical school training, residency, and first and second post-training jobs.  Moving and change happen frequently for those in the medical field.  Change is exciting, but it can also be disappointing and exhausting, and no matter our perspective, it's always challenging!

First of all, what is a naked egg?  According to a description I found in a science experiment, a naked egg is an egg without its shell.  That makes sense, but what does that have to do with moving or change?  Hold onto that thought...

This week has been a blur of boxes and packing paper.  Our family has gotten a lot of sweet help in many different ways, but our heads are still spinning a bit.  Maybe because today was the slowest we've gone in a while, that is why so many emotions went haywire.

The kids have handled our move quite well, but I knew there would be some bumps along the way.  For one, I've noticed a greater quickness for both of them to get upset over seemingly small things.  Today, L (8 years old), started getting teary over a perceived injustice with his 4 year old sister.  I sat and talked with him for a long time, and as he spoke, it came out that the greater issue was the move.  He doesn't disagree with our family's decision to move, he understands the reasons and benefits for all, but yes, there is grief.  There are friends, a school, a house, a neighborhood, to leave.  I encouraged him to let it out, to keep talking as much as he wanted to, and to think of things we can do to help him.

After he had calmed down, his mind was clearer and he could see how much this change was getting to him.  Then, right in the middle of this rather heavy conversation, he blurted out something about vinegar and eggshells.  I laughed, because I can't think of anyone else I know who would use such an example to describe stress!  I love the way he thinks.

I had to get him to explain.  Simply put, our move was having the effect on our mental and emotional stability that vinegar would have on an eggshell.  Vinegar is highly acidic, so it would break down that outer shell.  I couldn't believe my boy had come up with such an accurate illustration!

As I was reading over the science experiment to better understand L's example, I discovered something else interesting:  the shell might crack and come apart from the egg, but the egg's membrane would stay intact.  By the end of the day, I think my shell was gone, in a million pieces on the floor.  I was a naked egg, so to speak.  If I continued to think figuratively, though, surely my membrane was still protecting me:  my faith in God and his grace.

Because of that grace, when I turn with empty hands and a hungry heart, God will mend my "shell".  What is your vinegar today?  What is threatening to break you down, to make you vulnerable?  When you feel like your shell has cracked or even broken completely off, to what or whom do you turn?

My family sees our faith as our anchor.  When there is trouble, we pray.  When times are good, we give thanks.  We fill our hearts and minds with words and ideas that will quickly come to mind in all of life's circumstances.  Our shells still break, but our membranes stay strong.  There have been many trials as I've journeyed alongside V through his preparation to become a doctor.  We don't understand why everything has turned out the way it has--both good and bad, but we know we're on the right path, and we know we are on it together.

Here is a link to the science experiment if anyone would like to read over it or maybe try it at home:  http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/eggs/activity-naked.html

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Blogger Katie Van Brunt said...

That was beautiful. What a smart son you have! We've moved three times in the last four years. I feel his agony. However, my current vinegar would be handling three year-old temper tantrums while being 8 months pregnant! I turn to God, too, and my husband. Talking it out and thinking about how to handle the situation ahead of time helps keep things in perspctive and helps me prepare with how to deal better the next time around.

March 25, 2014 at 8:47 AM  
Blogger Alison Phommachanh said...

Thank you for reading and for your kind comment! It is good for us to be able to turn to our families, friends, and of course God in situations that seem to take so much out of us! Press on!

March 25, 2014 at 9:00 PM  

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