IMPELLED TO SERVE
LINDA ASHTON – ROCHESTER, ENGLAND
From the June 28, 2010 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
WHEN A FELLOW Christian Scientist suggested I would make a good Christian Science nurse, I said to myself that she didn’t know what she was talking about. Not me! No way! I didn’t care how good she thought I would be, I rejected this idea outright—and I told her so.
I had talked to this friend more than once about a sense of dissatisfaction with my present employment as an office secretary. At the same time, I had also felt impelled to serve the movement of Christian Science more fully. But how? My daughter was in her teens, and my husband thought it was a bit dicey to want to start another career as my income was very relevant to meet household expenses. So when my friend once again brought up Christian Science nursing, I was irritated to say the least. And just to prove her wrong. I applied for a two-week introductory course at a Christian Science nursing facility (just 16 miles away), with the expectation that I would get a great deal of satisfaction by saying to her, “You see, I told you so. I’m not cut out for it.”
Well, that was nearly 20 years ago, and I still can’t prove her wrong!
Within a short time of working on the Christian Science nursing floor, I realized that I was not just being asked to grow spiritually but being forced to grow spiritually, and I felt at home. Take just a simple thing like making a bed. Seems easy. But more than just doing the bed was the motive behind it. I had never before associated divine Principle with bed making, requiring such qualities as discipline, order, and punctuality.
On page 395 of Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “The nurse should be cheerful, orderly, punctual, patient, full of faith,—receptive to Truth and Love.” I soon learned that to be cheerful means, as my dictionary describes it, “showing willingness or good humor in complying.” Patients who are struggling with fear or disease must be able to tangibly feel the Christian Science nurse bring that willing disposition into the room and “good humor in complying” with any task that helps them feel loved and cherished. I saw how there is nothing to big or too small when ministering to a patient to bring comfort and healing.
THERE IS NOTHING TOO BIG OR TOO SMALL WHEN MINISTERING TO A PATIENT TO BRING COMFORT AND HEALING.
If my thinking is orderly and disciplined, it helps me to understand “the practical wisdom necessary in a sick room” and to “take proper care of the sick.” These are two requirements for the Christian Science nurse listed in the Church Manual (see p. 49). So orderliness is of paramount importance. It allows me to practice the correct nursing skills that help the patient feel safe and secure.
To be punctual is an indication of unselfed love, not just to my employer and colleagues but as a mark of self-respect that gives everyone the feeling I can be trusted to be where I’m supposed to be at all times. Punctuality and promptness eliminate frustration when a patient is waiting in situations that need to be seen to immediately. And if I have been late for any reason, a simple, humble apology and explanation, I realize, go a very long way to show I care enough to want to be punctual.
Second Timothy states: “The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient” (2:24). Patience, to me, is one of the most challenging qualities to express. Full of God’s grace, gentleness, meekness, and compassion, patience is never in a hurry, never too busy, and keeps one’s thought in the ever-present now. Everyone can feel it. If impatience is the enemy of excellence, patience is its friend. Many a time the individual who needs nursing can feel this God-expressed, tender quality, without one word being said.
I saw how practicing the qualities of cheerfulness, orderliness, punctuality, and patience required of a Christian Science nurse enabled me to be “full of faith and receptive to Truth and Love.” Spiritual faith and receptivity open the door of consciousness to the ideas that God is giving me every moment, with every patient, to handle any eventualities or specific nursing situations that need to be dealt with.
Under God’s perfect law of timing, seeking to express spiritual intuition in every aspect of my nursing, I have witnessed healing—in cases where someone who hadn’t walked in a year started walking again with gentle encouragement, and bed patients were nurtured and sustained through each stage of healing until they returned home.
With God, one Mind, to guide me, there has never been any Christian Science nursing situation I couldn’t handle.