“Good morning Mr. Johnson. How did you sleep last night?” Without waiting for a response, I handed him a medicine cup full of pills and a glass of water.
Like every other morning, Mr. Johnson wanted to know the reason he had to take so many pills. I painstakingly told him what each medicine was prescribed for, repeating the information several times until he was satisfied. Finally smiling, he took the medication.
I left the room, continuing down the hallway, pushing my medicine cart half-heartedly. I again found myself daydreaming of the days I was a happy legal secretary in a thriving law firm.
“Sis, I have a great idea!” My twin sister was on the telephone with excitement in her voice.
What she said next floored me.
“Let’s go to nursing school!” I dropped the phone. Picking it up, I began to laugh, until I realized she was serious.
My sister had always dreamed of being a nurse. The youngest of her children was now school age, and she was ready to fulfill her dreams.
I had no desire to be a nurse. I was very content with the line of work I was in. Why would I consider nursing? Why indeed! My twin could always convince me to do anything. Growing up, her mischief got us both into lots of trouble at times. But my love for her made me an easy target. But a nurse? I told her a firm, “No!”
Three months later, we began nursing school. Upon graduation, she and I got a job at the same nursing home. I have to admit I enjoyed seeing my sister every day, and I liked helping people.
What then, was the problem? Why was I longing for my secretarial job again? The problem was that I did not feel connected to my patients in any way. I watched my sister with envy at the way she seemed so in touch with each of her patients. She was comfortable around them, while I felt inadequate. These mature adults had lived a lifetime I was just beginning as a thirty-two-year-old woman. Their wealth of knowledge about life, having lived so many years, made me feel vulnerable and less than qualified to meet their needs. It was as if there was a gaping ravine between me and this older population, and the bridge was definitely OUT!
Then one morning I walked into Mr. Johnson’s room. “Good morning Mr. Johnson. How did you sleep last night?” I approached him with his medicine cup full of pills and glass of water, waiting for the usual questions. This morning, he pushed the pills away. He was smiling, and had a glow about him.
“Nurse, nurse, come quickly! Hold my hand, and kiss my cheek goodbye!” I thought he was having a moment of confusion, and tried to calm him.
“Do what I ask, won’t you?” Not wanting to upset him, I took his hand and kissed his cheek. Thanking me, he asked if I could see what he was seeing. I asked what that might be.
“It’s a golden bridge, with angels on both sides bidding me to cross over. I’m going home now!” Trying to reason with his “confusion,” I assured him he was home.
“No, I’m going to my heavenly home. Can’t you see the bridge? Jesus is waiting for me on the other side! And I wanted to thank you before I go for your loving kindness toward me while I”ve been waiting for the bridge that would take me home! You took my fears and uncertainty away, and I have always felt safe in your care.”
Mr. Johnson took a deep breath, and was gone, holding my hand tightly. I wept over him, like a long lost friend. I missed him already. I longed to hear just one more time his usual morning questions.
But wait! Inadequate? Not qualified? Vulnerable? Those words were not anywhere in Mr. Johnson’s gratitude for my care. I made a difference in his “golden” years, as he waited for the “golden” bridge that would take him home!
A gaping ravine? Not at all. The bridge between us is the love of God in our hearts for one another, which defies all barriers. And one day, we will each cross that final golden bridge. May we be joyfully holding hands with someone who bridged the gap of any uncertainty in us with the love of God!
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