Each year on May 6, National Nurses Day is celebrated in the United States. It recognizes the contributions and commitments of nurses toward the betterment of society.
As a Christian Science nurse, I often prayerfully turn to the Bible to deepen my understanding of what it means to meet the human need with tender practical care. This message from God to the prophet Jeremiah, “I have dearly loved you from of old, and still I maintain my unfailing care for you” (Jeremiah 31:3, New English Bible), has been a vital base for my practice of Christian Science nursing. I have learned that as I grow in my understanding of this infinite embrace of God as Love itself, who cherishes and loves each one of us as its dear children, I feel Love’s guidance. This guidance gives me the confidence to administer proper, wise, and timely care to those who are relying on prayer-based treatment from a Christian Science practitioner when faced with a physical or mental challenge.
A number of years ago, I was regularly helping a woman who was struggling with focusing on daily activities. At bedtime, she became confused and resistant. The more I tried to hurry things along, the worse things became until either she unhappily got into bed or everything came to a complete standstill. By the end, I wasn’t very happy either.
One night, I reached out to God with all my heart to feel His deep love for this dear individual and myself. Prayerfully, I asked God to show me how I could express His love and comfort through my care for this person. I had learned to turn to God as Mind, which is another biblical name for God (see, for example, I Corinthians 2:16). I saw more clearly that, as Christian Science teaches, God, the infinite divine Mind, was the creator of all of us and therefore the only Mind of this woman and myself. Suddenly, I had the idea to go in and put out one care item at a time for her to do on her own. Then I would leave the room. Each time she would finish, I would put out something else until she was ready for bed. It took longer but the confusion vanished, and she would settle happily for the night.
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science and the founder of this newspaper, devoted her life to proving the ever-available power of God. She knew how important it was for one caring for another to have a spiritually uplifted thought – a thought that was listening for divine Love’s guidance. In her major work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she wrote, “The nurse should be cheerful, orderly, punctual, patient, full of faith, – receptive to Truth and Love” (p. 395). I have learned that because these qualities come from Love, they are part of Love’s omnipresent care and are inherent to the real God-given nature of everyone – the only nature we really have. These potent spiritual qualities – impelling every activity, including nursing care – dispel discouragement and fear, and lift thought to infinite possibilities.
Whether one is nursing a patient or tenderly caring for the needs of a family member, the Apostle Paul’s promise that “love will never come to an end” is always our advocate (I Corinthians 13:8, New English Bible). Divine Love will guide every step of the way.