Lent 2020 – Day 34

Last night after I wrote the prayer for Day 33, the word ‘nurse’ came to my mind. Instantly then did I know what I was going to write for today. God really provides.

I’ve been thinking about how we need each other during this time, and how it’s so important to be that ONE person that changes people’s day (maybe, even their life!). It’s not about putting the pressure to be THE PERSON for every single friend and family member, but it’s that impact that one person can have on your entire day – a sincere compliment, a random act of kindness, an unexpected heartfelt message.

A few days ago I had an endoscopy. It’s quite a routine procedure, but invasive nonetheless. On top of the fact that I was strapped sideways to a hospital bed with many wires and needles going through and around while being slightly sedated, sticking a camera down my throat and having to pull it back out is just scarring on so many levels.

But what made the entire experience so much better was this nurse.

She chatted with me throughout the entire preparation process, making me feel comfortable in a sterile environment. She talked about her own endoscopy experience; she said I was lucky that at least this isn’t a colonoscopy with diarrhea; she asked me questions about my health without dismissing the severity of my symptoms.

But as soon as the senior nurse and the doctor took over the operation room, the atmosphere instantly changed to intensity and speed – like ‘quick let us stuff this camera down her throat!’.

Put a blood pressure thing on her at all times. Clip her finger for heartbeat. Strap her sideways. Haphazardly place a blanket over her.

Thankfully, this nurse was the one to administer my anaesthetics, so I got a moment to breathe from the intensity, and extra dosage for the throat spray.

Then the mouth guard was stuffed over my lips. I tried to fix my collar riding up my neck. Next thing I know, the camera’s down my throat and into my stomach.

During the procedure, I tried to keep my cool, but having a wire down my throat is nerve-wracking. About a few minutes in, I started panicking from the discomfort and claustrophobia of it all. Crying is not ideal when a wire is in my throat. But somewhere through the tears, I felt a hand on my shoulder and I heard the nurse’s voice soothe me, encouraging me that this is almost over.

As soon as the camera was out, I immediately felt drowsy as the adrenaline left my body. And I was wheeled into the resting room. The nurse checked up on me, and when I was semi-awake, she would ask me questions, making me feel comfortable throughout the recovery process.

If that nurse wasn’t there, this endoscopy experience would have been far more scarring and terrifying. Even though she wasn’t the doctor performing the procedure or the senior nurse who was calling the shots, I would’ve probably gotten into a full-blown meltdown if her peaceful presence was not there with me.

Her presence made a difference.

Since that experience, I’ve been wondering: who am I ‘the nurse’ to? Am I ‘the nurse’ to anyone?

Does my presence change the room, or is the room completely the same without me in it?

Has my words, my friendship, my actions changed someone’s day or life for the better?

Who can I be ‘the nurse’ to today? Who is God calling me to comfort, or listen to, or simply chat with today?

I hope that you’re wondering the same too. I believe each of us are ‘the nurse’ to someone, whether or not we’re aware of it. Our simple presence of showing up could mean the entire world to someone.

Showing up does look a little different during this social distancing season, however instead of seeing this as an obstacle – see this as an opportunity to get creative.

A random message to a close friend just to check-up, even if you think you know how they’re doing. Following through a God-prompt to send a message to a random acquaintance could lead them closer to Jesus. Gathering a bunch of random friends who love Jesus to pray together every week, or do a Bible study together. Inviting a new friend to virtual game night each week. Intentionally setting time aside to intercede for people. Finding out your friends’ and family members’ addresses so you can ship them groceries, or write a hand-written letter.

Remember: we’re not ‘the doctor’ so our job isn’t to heal people – that’s God’s job as the healer, but we can be ‘His nurses’ and partner with him to care for his patients. There are so many ways we can be ‘the nurse’ in our own special way, but we gotta first listen to the doctor’s instructions!

Therefore for me tonight, my prayer is this:

May I be like the nurse that comforted me through being strapped to a hospital bed, to be the person that uses wise words to dispel fear and helplessness.

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