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Topic: Labor (04/19/04)
TITLE: A Labor Of Love
By Antje Hill
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The alarm buzzed unusually loud and Annette jumped out of bed so as not to awaken her sleeping husband. Only a few more weeks now and another year of school would be only a memory. She thought back over her class of 20 little trainees. She had never regretted going back to school for her degree in teaching. She had accomplished this while raising four children, and had graduated with honors. She showered and dressed quickly and was on the job 30 minutes before the children arrived. She savored the quietness before the storm.
The door flew open and Joey appeared. “Mrs. Hamill, I know we had a funeral for Mr. Can’t, but what if I can’t be nice to my sister?”
“But Joey, you can be nice to her. You are choosing not to be. Don’t you think it would be good to leave Mr. Can’t buried and make the choice to treat your sister with kindness?”
“I’m going to try again, Mrs. Hamill. I’ll leave Mr. Can’t buried.” She smiled as she remembered the cardboard tombstone and the little ceremony the class had put together to bury the word “can’t.” She wanted these youngsters to know the sky was the limit as they grew toward adulthood.
Annette had seen so much growth in her class this year. Katie had cried every day for 3 weeks when classes started. Now her interaction with the others was amazing. She had turned into a natural little leader for her classmates.
“Where does time go” she wondered as she looked over her classroom of rambunctious junior citizens. “God, let the love I’ve given these children multiply in their lives. Let them remember to keep can’t buried and their imagination alive.”
At the end of the day, Annette took one last look around her colorful room and locked the door behind her. It had been a good day working with these live wires. She had left fingerprints all over the lives of her little ones. They had been taught enthusiasm and that life is fun. She had let them know they were loved and they could do anything. She prayed that others in their lives would realize how fragile they were.
Not so far away Wanda was busy adding that personal touch to her world. She, too, had chosen to return to school. Following her military husband across the country had left little time for her to pursue her dream. Finally it happened, she was a registered nurse. She loved her crisp white uniform, the authority to make decisions, interacting with hurting people.
Mrs. Lesley, one of Wanda’s patients, had been given the diagnosis of cancer a few weeks earlier. She had opted for surgery and now came the recouping stage and the waiting for her prognosis. She had no family nearby and spent much of her time alone.
Wanda was working the night shift and had tried to spend a little extra time with Mrs. Lesley. Just a few more loose ends to tie up, and she would head home. Climbing the stairs, she caught a glimpse of a sunrise through a hospital window. Quickly she made her way to Mrs. Lesley’s room. As she expected, her patient was awake. “I have a front row seat for you, my dear, to a spectacular event,” she exclaimed. “The show is about to start. Let’s get that robe on. Where are your slippers? We can’t waste any time.” They made it to the end of the hallway minutes before the sun peeped over the tree tops. Shades of pink, blue and orange lit up the sky, offering a changing panoramic view second by second. “Oh my, I can’t believe how beautiful it is,” Mrs. Lesley whispered, her eyes sparkling with tears, “and you took time to let me see it.” “Let’s just say I work at keeping my priorities straight,” smiled Wanda, giving her a big hug. After lingering for a few minutes and succeeding in efforts to get a a laugh from her patient, Wanda settled Mrs. Lesley in and went to call her husband. “I’ll be late getting home this morning. I still have my med check to do. Something important came up.” He knew only too well what probably caused the delay. That was o.k. He thought back over the years she had waited for him and loved her even more.
Annette and Wanda’s labor of love reaches beyond an 8 hour day. They always give more than is required. They don’t stop until they touch the hearts of people. They wouldn’t have it any other way. My life has been touched by both of them. It’s a pleasure to have them as sisters.