I don’t necessarily think you have to be a nurse to experience these, but that’s when I first started noticing them myself. They’ve been with me through my first five years of practice, and I doubt they’re going to be leaving me anytime soon.
I can be totally enveloped in whatever chaos du jour happens to be unfolding around me, when I will suddenly feel a most curious sensation wash over me.
I would describe these feelings as a sudden awareness. Not unpleasant at all – they’re actually quite welcoming. Comforting even. And not apparent at all to others, but undeniably real to me.
I call these sensations my “moments”.
They’re just tiny slices of time – like lightning-fast snapshots. Moments usually happen to me right smack-dab in the middle of something else, something that’s probably much bigger, much louder, more stress-filled … something insanely chaotic.
But somehow … through it all … there it is.
I feel it.
One of these moments.
It pierces through everything.
It pierces through me.
Somehow time stands still for just an instant, everything becomes crystal clear … peaceful even. Somehow a wink of quiet permeates the beeps, the ringing phones, and all the voices – somehow they all become muted. Somehow the crushing mountain of expectations is lifted from my shoulders – just for an instant – and I know … wow … this moment is important.
And it’s more important than anything else.
These moments may be triggered by a word or two, the meeting of eyes, the welling of tears. There could be a touch, a gesture, a sudden flash of expression. Maybe it’s that hopeful look. Or that defiant squaring of the shoulders – that “trying to appear strong even though I’m falling apart” posture. Or maybe it’s that long sigh – the despondent one they think no one hears.
These subtleties weigh heavy with significance. And apparently I’m supposed to notice them.
Because I do.
Whatever triggers the moments … they instantly pull me in … I’m now hooked. We’re connected. This patient and me. I see their pain. I feel the woe weighing on their hearts. We’re bonded now. Yes, this patient and me. We’re joined at the heart. And there is simply no overlooking it, no denying it’s happened. And there is no ignoring its impact.
I’m still just me, yet somehow I’m not.
I am changed.
Oddly, these moments don’t happen with every patient. There may be weeks or even months in between their occurrences. But when they do wash over me, they come and go in a flash.
Yet somehow they linger.
These moments follow me around, they infiltrate my thoughts, they seep into my sleep, they invade my everything. They’re like an instant that mysteriously lasts a lifetime. Their ripple effects palpable. Eternal.
At one time I naïvely believed that I had endured five long years of nursing school simply to learn how to keep a heart beating, or how to preserve the breath of life in struggling lungs.
I knew that, once equipped with this knowledge, I would be able to step in and be there for someone during their lowest moments … to help them heal … to help meet life’s most basic needs … to point them to God. What an honor. There’s truly no higher privilege.
How blessed we are as nurses to have access to our patients’ vulnerabilities.
But what these moments have shown me instead is that I had been totally underestimating our God and His ways.
He was calling me to much more than nursing. He was calling me to listening. To learning. He was calling me to not just simply teach my patients, but to grow with and through them in the process. Because I’ve realized that what usually happens is that these patients unknowingly end up pointing ME to God, instead of the other way around.
He knew I would need the growth of these lessons to strengthen me as I sometimes limp through this exhausting chapter of my own Lupus-entangled story. The days where I’m sick and discouraged, where I’m wondering … seriously wondering … just how I’m supposed to do all of this.
How the heck am I supposed to be a nurse AND a patient at the same time?
He uses the lessons of these moments to re-center me.
Those weak and weary days … the days where time drags and everything just hurts … the lessons restore me.
The days where I’m questioning His timing, where I’m whining that I don’t want to – and rebelling because I don’t think I should HAVE to – He uses the lessons of those gentle moments to soften me … remind me.
To remind me of Him.
Of who He is.
His ways are perfect.
His timing is impeccable.
His wisdom is timeless.
His strength is immeasurable.
His patience is inexhaustible.
His love is boundless.
His grace is amazing.
Always, always amazing.
Our God is omniscient … ever present … always there. There’s simply no hiding from Him, my friends.
So be encouraged – because this also means that He will never, ever conceal Himself from us, either. He is truly everywhere, yet right here holding us all at the same time. Always. Forever. Especially … especially … in the moments. How amazing. Praise be.
Thanks for growing with me. ❤
“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.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)