I would like to share a brief story about a patient, that taught me more than I could realize. There are many blessings that come from being there for others when they are often at their most vulnerable states, whether it be physical, emotional or a spiritual need.
I became an EMT, and now a Registered Nurse, because I wanted to see humans grow, take care of one another, connect and find inner peace. I found myself reflecting far too often about my painful past. I figured that if I could play the role of a caretaker then maybe I could deceive myself concerning this thing called loneliness. Without much warning, I found out that there was much of my ego wrapped in it (who would have thought!) and eventually it brought me to my knees where I was finally able to cry out to God.
It's a blessing to acknowledge our false intentions and false self. God now needed me to be transparent, honest and vulnerable, and to live with humility so I could be healed from such torment. Was I okay with that at first? What do you think? I was okay with the belief that I could do this is on my own. Loneliness is something most of us are all too familiar with; whether in our past, present or future, we are all susceptible. God has shared with me the greatest gift that regardless of social status, income, health, personal ability, or vocation we are all God's beloved. And it's a blessing to share that with others and bring hospitality to one another, to create space where a stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy.
Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines. God is the source of eternal hope, life and salvation...And I know God needs that for each and everyone of us.
During my childhood I wanted so badly an image of my father to look back at during my difficult times and be assured that everything would be ok...every day I hoped for his attention, his guidance, his blessings, his affection, his affirmation in my life. Although that is what I wanted, I knew that another story was unfolding and would have great consequences for years to come. I waited and waited and waited and as time went by, feelings of hopelessness, rejection, loneliness, a will to develop my own morality, committing sin continuously while going unconfessed - these crowded my mind.
So I came to the conclusion that I needed to help other people, because I was not worthy of being helped or cared for, and I could never allow for another person to feel what I have felt.
Four years ago I was doing my clinical rotation at the Behavioral Center, where we were to do evaluations on children who were at increased risk for suicide. This little girl approached me about the age of 10, concerned, tired looking, and yet when we sat down, she was the most courageous little girl - so honest, vulnerable and transparent with her voice. I was like, "hey, I want to be like you when I grow up." The first thing she said was, "I cannot stop thinking of how I want to die."
I wanted to tell her, "oh, come on...you're 10! What do you know about struggle, about life, to have absolutely no more options," but I couldn't. She was speaking her truth. We sat there for about an hour and she was able to tell me so much in such a brief time; from the time we started talking she was cornered and trapped, with very few options in sight. There were so many fears grasping her, draining her emotionally, physically and spiritually.
I sat there and listened, but I wanted so badly to counsel, to guide, to have a plan, to get her out of this grief and sorrow. "Do I do what's 'right,' and apply institutional protocol by having her medicated and on stand-by? Will that resolve this?"
While I sat there with her during her confusion, I could start to see inner peace within herself, by seeing that she was finding sensitivity and acceptance of her past. She realized that she was becoming ok with what had happened, where she was at that time, and she knew she was no longer alone.
During that time she found her space, the loudness and intensity seized for a moment to hear God. To me, it's still a miracle to see that no words or medicine - just simply listening without judgment - had brought comfort to a broken spirit and revived her at that moment. Only an act of God. It was amazing to see a little girl who had no life initially in her face and words, literally be restored. Now I know she is far from living a life of constant joy and peace, just as I myself will have to face fears, sorrows and tragedies in the future. I do hope she breaks from cycle of a tormented life and is able to walk towards the truth.
One of my favorite authors, Jean Vanier, writes, "to be free is to know who we are, with all that is beautiful, all the brokenness in us; it is to love our own values, to embrace them, and to develop them; it is to be anchored in a vision of a truth but also to be open to others and, so, to change. Freedom lies in discovering that the truth is not a set of fixed certitudes but a mystery we enter into, one step at a time. It is a process of going deeper and deeper into an unfathomable reality."
So from the courage of that young girl...I was willing to try it out....and that's when I was able to reach out to someone willing to listen...not feeling the pressure of being condemned, fearing that someone may see who I really am. God wanted me to see that it was ok. And I have to say, it has been worth every tear shed...I know many more sad and difficult times will come, and that's fine by me. Hear these words from our Father:
Above all brothers and sisters you are called to be free; do not use your freedom for an openness to self-indulgence, but to be servants to one another in love...the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, truthfulness, gentleness and self-control. no law can touch such things as these." (Galatians 5:13,22-23)
We are asked from God to do to these things for one another so we can hear his voice and know we are his beloved. There is no greater success in our lives than this.