In my 34 years as a nurse, I have learned many life lessons from the patients/clients in my care….some in the most unlikely of ways. I have learned that perhaps the most effective way to learn a particular lesson is to have some degree of personal experience in that given area. Not only does this sink the lesson deeper into your ‘gray matter’, thereby decreasing the chance of ever forgetting it, but, it also enhances your credibility when trying to share your experience with others. As a lifelong Christian, I firmly believe that, whether it be painful, challenging, happy or sad, God allows very specific events in our lives in order to teach us many things…not the least of which is empathy towards others and, most importantly how to comfort others experiencing the same thing. I didn’t just make that up or pull it out of a hat. God said so …in the Bible… 2Corinthians 1:4. He comforts us in our times of trouble, not so that we will be comfortable, but so that we will comfort others in their time of trouble. Simplistically, you could, perhaps, think of it as “paying it forward”.
All that being said, He allowed me another “lesson” to add to my extensive ‘portfolio’ this weekend. We don’t seem to hear the word “shut-in” as much as in years past but, believe me, they still exist. I’m referring to those poor souls who, usually due to some sort of serious irreversible health issue, are mostly, if not completely confined to their homes or a facility of some sort …24/7…365. Well, it just so happens that I have been sick as a dog this whole beautiful weekend. It started Friday afternoon while I was still at work at school. I figured it was probably just something I had eaten because I rarely get sick, despite all the hacking and barfing kids I take care of. But as the evening progressed, there was no longer any doubt. When that beautiful sun came up Saturday morning I felt pretty sure that everything that had gone into my “pie hole” on Friday was going to as well! I’ll spare you any more graphic details. Saturday was a very rough day. Early this evening, of course now that the sun has gone and it will soon be time to go back to work, I am starting to feel human again. Weak as a kitten but more human than yesterday. So, what does this have to do with ‘life lessons’, you may be asking. I’ll tell you. Even though my time of “confinement” was so limited in comparison, it caused me to literally pause and think what it must be like for “shut-ins” who cannot get out and enjoy the beauty outside. Because I would have LOVED to have been outside but couldn’t be, it broke my heart to think of people who can NEVER get out. It reinforced in my mind the importance of finding ways to bring sunshine and happiness inside to them. According to God’s plan, that ‘seed’ He planted in my brain, by allowing me this experience, will grow and, hopefully, will be ‘harvested’ the next time I encounter a ‘shut-in’. He has ‘primed’ my heart and mind. The final proof of whether or not the lesson was truly learned will be if I obey His teachings by following through with what I know He would want me to do. What lessons has He been trying to teach you lately?