That was the edict I proclaimed too loudly and too stridently during my last hospitalization.
I was in bad shape, I was struggling, and no one would be allowed to see it.
There was no way I could divide my energies between trying to recover and trying to cover up how sick I was for others.
I would isolate myself and they could see me when I was well again.
Lately, I have been looking back on that crisis…with fondness.
I loved my nurses.
I loved my nurses because they were prepared and willing to deal with me the way I was and to help me get better.
When I arrived in the ER I had a collapsed lung and was struggling to breathe.
The lung had uncharitably collapsed before I had the opportunity to shower, comb my hair, brush my teeth, shave, or even get properly dressed.
They reinflated the lung before they put me in a room, so I arrived in mine appearing to be a wheezing, bloody, vagrant.
I was in tremendous pain and I was one as well.
No comments were made about my lack of hygiene or style…the nurses simply began the process to get me well.
They did so without mocking, without laughing, without blame or criticism.
They were there for me…when they asked how bad I hurt and where the hurt was coming from, they actually wanted to know the answers.
They used those answers to help alleviate the pain.
When they unintentionally created more pain they apologized profusely.
One night, about 2 am one even came in with a little kit to help me clean up, so I could feel more comfortable in front of them.
They were on my side, they were there for me, and they created an atmosphere of recovery that got my back on my feet.
Some of the doctors were not as careful or kind…but the nurses made it able to bear.
I never had to feel ashamed of my struggles on the road back to wholeness.
We like to refer to the church as a “hospital for broken sinners”.
I’m not so sure…maybe some more of us need to go to nursing school.
Make your own application.
Michael, this is rich! Thank you!
Good metaphor. I don’t think “the church” even remotely resembles such, but good metaphor of what seems a noble and universally “good” Ideal.
Amen. Very good analogy. If only…… I read a quote recently that is something like ‘people remember you by the way you made them feel”. I like that….. and hope my track record contains more of making folks feel loved & cared for than making them feel small or not valuable….
I have no doubt about your legacy…you are one of our best “nurses”.
Thanks for your constant kindness, Dr Phoenix
thanks for another thought-provoking post. there is much to chew on today.
I also appreciate Paigemama’s link to Donald Miller’s article yesterday. Some key similarities in extending your metaphor…
The church should be a place where broken people can come to heal….sadly, many are afraid to enter a church for fear of being condemned for being broken.
Thank you Filbert and Nonnie…and thank you Lord for giving me an article this morning. 🙂
Hmmm. Good one to think on today. I like Nonnie’s interpretation from #9!
Many, MANY years ago, my ex stated that the church should be a hospital for the sick an wounded….and for a very long time, that church was that kind of place….alas, ‘something’ went very very wrong….. still no clue what….. but the need for hospital churches with compassionate nurses and ‘orderlies’ is so needed today…
“When they unintentionally created more pain they apologized profusely.”
Mehhhh……….I challenged my kids’ nurse who gave them vaccinations for saying “I’m sorry”–I said, “No you aren’t!–you meant to give them that painful shot! But it’s less painful than the measles, etc”.
One finally acknowledged as much–“You’re right! I don’t feel sorry! It’s for their good.”
Some of us rebellious fools and addicts need some rough medicine/tough love…
But otherwise, a great post, Michael!
my suspicion is that the doctors (pastors?) got a bit big for their britches and the patients became more melodramatic…nurses were getting it from both sides.
My wife is a nurse. She works in a high stress department in a large inner-city hospital. She tries her best to show patience and kindness towards her patients and often succeeds. However, it is quite a challenge for her to stay consistent in doing this and she is burnt out from doing it for years. The biggest cause for the stress and burn out in her job is a lack of support from the hospital leadership to adequately provide an environment and the support needed for her and the rest of the nursing staff to be able to do their jobs, and to do them in a compassionate manner toward the patients.
I guess this is where I’m supposed to say, “Make your own application.”
I was reminded of this personal story of Tony Campolo. I’m sure many of you have heard it before. But it doesn’t hurt to post it anyway.
Here is a tribute to hospital attire
Kevin H. I am weeping reading that story by A Campolo! That is beautiful.
Nonnie, you probably won’t believe it but … my church is like that. It really is. Last week a man in our church testified that he first came to the church for his wife’s funeral. Then he stayed and a year and a half later he gave himself to Jesus.
He kinda messed up some since then but we decided to overlook it and stay with him. He gave his testimony of God’s love last week and then got on his knee and asked a lady to marry him. She said yes.
Before 24 hours were over two other couples in the church got engaged.
All of them are remarriages… all are coming from painful pasts… all are restoring their lives in an environment that just waits patiently for people to figure it out.
We have prostitutes and former prostitutes in the family too. And a few gay folk but we act like we don’t notice much. It is sometimes a bit overwhelming to be so free but it is always rewarding and hopeful.
Babs, I believe it! You have ministered grace and abounding love many times here.
Great story by Campolo!!
One of my sons-in-law is a nurse in the psych ward of a children’s hospital. He is a big, strong athletic young man, and he has to be because at times he has to ward off the punches and physical violence of some of the older kids there. But he has incredible patience, and I cannot imagine anyone more well-suited for that particular position.
YES! We need more nurses training.
Tough love can often be delivered in the form of gentleness. We don’t have to shout for someone to hear us every time. We don’t have deliver messages with brute force in every case. The tough part is gently saying the truth when it’s called for. The gentle part is bearing with others patiently, walking with them, recognizing we don’t really know how life feels to them (humility,) and waiting for a teachable moment … not just getting it off my chest.
For some reason I have never been in a situation where a person discipled me, other than in class, through radio and through books. (Ok, of course I’ve learned things from people, but I’ve not had any formal discipleship.) I run across areas in my life where I could use some discipleship, yet I’m often expected to already know it all somehow. I find the usual first response is judgement, followed by no discipleship.
I see this happening to many people … often. It seems we ought to be patiently and gently starting with where a person is at and humbly/freely share what God has given us if they want it. Then it should be no surprise that God uses them to teach us something.
Can’t tell you how many times my last church would condemn people for not knowing something, or questioning something. If someone was hurt, it was all their fault, they should be tougher, more trusting. If someone was discouraged, it was all their fault. If they were depressed, their fault. The person would receive lectures, condemning statements, and relegated to the back of the line till they could get their act together. Oh the whispers of “so and so isn’t up to snuff,” implying it would be better if we didn’t spend time with him, as he might rub off. No hospital there. No nurses. No healing, either.
You hit a nerve with me. My mother, 84 years old, spent her life as a nurse. And my youngest sister has over 30 years thus far as a nurse.
My sister is a very positive individual who is like a ray of sunshine to anyone who comes with in range of her.
My mother, who raised 4 of us by her self, called her patients her kids.
I totally and fully understand where your coming from. I am and was loved by nurses!
Thanks for your, as usual, incredible communication skills in getting across a point.
Jesus is like that, He told stories with meaning and perspective like you do…
You said,”For some reason I have never been in a situation where a person discipled me, other than in class, through radio and through books.”
I am so sorry for you. I never realized how blessed I was to be discipled by Lonnie Frisbee (LonnieFrisbee.com) as a young man. I could ride my bike over to his house and he would be available to me with out reservation for as long as I needed him.
I am glad that you are in here. There are so many wise and kind people here for you. Stick around.
Thank you for the kind words and for hanging out with us for so many years.
I have had some experiences with spiritual “nurses”. There are churches that are places if healing. Even life saving
The Holy Spirit is the doctor though, not pastors IMO.
Sorry you were sick. Hope you are better now. I have had personal experiences in hospitals and ER with some of the most kind and caring nurses you could imagine. Women, men, Muslims and even homosexual nurses. I chose not to judge them; I chose to love them; and most of the time I was able to live my faith and even got an opportunity to share it.
Great insight, Michael. Too bad to get it, we must often endure pain.
Thank you, David Sloane.
I think my point is that each of us have areas that need more discipling. We each have areas that need to grow. When we approach one another, as much as is possible, we need to simply start with where the person is without just writing them off because this “area” is in need.
I don’t know if this has already been discussed on the PhxP as I’ve been out more than in lately, but I just caught the last 45 min or so of Rick and Kay Warren’s interview with Piers Morgan. They were transparent, passionate, and true to their faith. They seized opportunities to share scripture and focus on Jesus.
At one point, Rick made a very clear statement of the Gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. They didn’t shrink back from any questions and were honest about their grief and not understanding God’s plan in the death of their son.
“In God’s garden of grace, even a broken tree bears fruit.”
To Rick and Kay Warren, I say “Bravo!”
I watched it Captain and it was very touching. There are people who hate Rick Warren so much they will find some type of Satanic angle in every single thing RW says. They see the death of his son as a judgement of God, he is a heretic so God took out his kid by allowing his child to finally acquire an illegal weapon to shoot himself with. Now many of the same folks will also jump on the fact that RW and his wife supported the gun control laws in the state of California. They believe if a person wishes to own an H bomb for home defense they should be able to. Rick Warren did make a clear statement of the Gospel. But like I said before there are people who hate RW with a passion and they have even made a cottage industry out of it.
I have known several people who have committed suicide was in the same house of one kid who succeeded at the time he died. I was in the house of another who tried when he shoved a broken beer bottle into his arm down to the bone. What has always struck me was just how much they hate this guy, God ordained eternal hatred on steroids. RW cant do anything without some type of Jesuit lead conspiracy being invoked or other such superstitious nonsense being touted concerning his actions.
I liked the interview it touched me, personally I dont much care for RW’s style or some of his church polity, but he seems to care and he does more for the gospel daily then the entire bunch of leaches do that suck off his “fame” to build their own pathetic empire as they accuse him of doing the same. The irony of it all.
I don’t get CNN where I live, but I imagine it will be onliine soon. Looking forward to seeing it. God bless Rick Warren and his wife. May much fruit come from through this sorrow and loss.
You have to ask, what is it that makes good nurses compassionate? Is it their natural bent? Can it be trained? My husband has often remarked that the congregation is a reflection of the pastor. What I mean by that is that people repeat behaviors they see modeled. Many a person has not gone back to a church because, other than the smiling greeter at the door, no one talks to them. The church members are so engrossed in their cliques or ‘jobs” they lose sight of new people. I believe a pastor can teach and model welcoming behavior and engage others to help him teach a congregation. What if we sat in the back row and invited “Zaccheaus” over for a meal? What kind of impact would that have? It’s the “I see you” that many people long to hear and feel.
Linnea, I am guessing what you have shared goes right along with what BD said in number 19 about what their church is experiencing. If the pastor is modelling/living out (not just preaching) compassion and care, the body will also.
Forgive me if i have told this story before, but it is precious to me:
Years ago my mother told me story of visiting her mother in the hospital. My grandmother was dying of cancer and only had days to live. Grandma had always been a big and robust woman who baked and sewed for her family. But cancer had ravished her body down to about 80 pounds. She was frail and lying helplessly in the hospital bed as my mom sat there with her, reading the Bible, praying and talking.
As they sat there, an elderly man came in the room. He was a retired pastor but now working as the hospital chaplain and had come by to visit. He moved the rocking chair next to the bed and joined the conversation. As he sat there, my grandmother turned to him and said, “Can I sit in your lap and will you rock me?”
My mom was shocked said she was so embarrassed and uncomfortable for the poor man. Mom said she was just about to say something…but before she had a chance,
That precious Christian man said, “why certainly Edna..”
He helped Gramma climb onto his lap. Then he held her in his arms and rocked her like a little child.
As she watched them, my mother said, “it was a holy moment…..it was like watching Jesus holding one of His little children.”
The love of God expressed in such a simple act.
In the hospital in January and through having surgery on Thursday, God has told me to ‘in everything give thanks’ and he said to say “Thank you for taking care of me” to the people around me. It has been very good for my heart to acknowledge care. “Be joyful always, pray continually, in everything give thanks…” in the hospital I found that giving thanks got me to pray, and that thankfulness can feel quite a bit like joy. God’s Word has been very good to me.
Nonnie’s #34 is amazingly beautiful.
brian at #30, so true.
Nonnie at #34, now there’s something you can’t learn at seminary. Beautiful!
Nonnie @34…wow! He met her where she was– beautiful!