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Thank our caregivers for their compassionate labors of love
In the hospital, I gave thanks for healing and my heroic caregivers
We sometimes take for granted the blessings that are all round us, until we are faced with a crisis.
A financial crisis, a troubled relationship, a health emergency, job insecurity. You name it.
A crisis either brings us to our knees, opens our eyes or deepens the malaise we’re in.
A recent health crisis put me on my knees, back in the hospital gave me more time in God’s word. More significantly, it gave me time to talk to with my caregivers, the nurses, technicians, therapists, doctors and others who selflessly care for us when we are unable to.
Though my illness didn’t leave me in physical pain, I was ill enough to warrant a three-day stay.
In the last two years, I have been in the hospital three times, essentially with the same problem: diverticulosis. But my latest episode was trigger by radiation treatments for prostate cancer. I believe , truly, that positive, hopeful and upbeat care is helping me recover.
During my visits, I had time to talk, listen and pray with several caregivers. Their hopefulness is astounding, their resilience, especially during the pandemic, is heroic.
Each weekday the last month, I’ve spoken to nurses and therapists as I’ve had to undergo radiation treatments for prostate cancer. And I’ve talked to other patients cued up awaiting treatment.
So prayerfully, I had to wonder how do our medical caregivers deal with seeing the pain and suffering of so many every day?
Several told me of their faith, and what role it plays in their lives. Faith, one nurse said, sustained her during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, compelling her to return to her patients.
Hope is what also keeps them going. Hope -- believing their work prolongs life and eases suffering. Hope, -- believing they stand in the breach and their work is not in vain.
Their faith looks at life from the long view, just not in our present situations. Since afflictions are temporary and limited, wise Christians look at things unseen, which are eternal.
Faith to love others as ourselves -- as Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-31 and Luke 10:25-28 -- is why they care for patients relentlessly.
Several of my nurses and doctors on my trips to the hospital were not native-born Americans. They were from Ghana, Ethiopia, Korea and Nepal. Their hope comes from a different fount, one born of knowing how blessed they are compared to circumstances from back home.
I’m reminded of this passage from 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
One of my therapists told me she has a giving spirit and that nursing for her is a calling. And even though she’s seen people leave the field in the last couple of years, she’s staying.
“I like the feeling knowing that I am helping someone through a very traumatic time in their life, and when they are done with therapy, I can celebrate with them the process of being healed.”
Helping people at a vulnerable time in their life is a gift worth sharing. Let’s pray for them, so they will be sustained during these trying times.
Author and poetess Maya Angelou once said:
“As a nurse we have the opportunity to heal the mind, soul, heart, and body of our patients. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Amen to that.