Reflection by Sara Haines, a Hope House resident
Almost two months ago, I needed to take a member back to the ER, specifically to the trauma center, to have her stitches removed. The ER sported several amenities…plasma screen in the waiting room, new wheelchairs…not to mention several eager nurses. This environment contrasted severely to my image of a trauma center ER. In our post-work conversations, Molly described people piled in hallways, and patients complaining about lack of service while just down the hall a patient is coding as nurses race to save her. These are just a few regular scenarios she’s shared with me.*
I thought of a passage from gospel of Matthew: “For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt. 5:46-48).
Spacious waiting rooms and ample staff make being nice to patients much easier than overcrowded halls filled with gunshot wound patients. I believe the latter challenges one’s faith and authentic love. Faith that, whatever he or she has to give, God will make it enough, even if it does not appear so to anyone else.
“You people are all so nice,” the member commented to the nurses who assisted her, a valid observation. Yet again I think of the nurses who struggle daily to love the ignorant patient who is tired of waiting for water, while also trying to save the patient who was stabbed and just flatlined. These nurses get low ratings from patients for not giving the patients what they want immediately, if the patient takes the time to rate their service at all.
But even if the ratings do come in low, I am confident that God sees every ounce of love mustered. It’s his perfection we are striving for, not ours, and his perfection is love. I’m two months late of nurses appreciation week, but here’s to the men and women who take up our crosses with us when we are suffering.
*Molly works at Advocate Christ, one of two Hospitals with a Level 1 Trauma Center which received many of Chicago’s South Side trauma patients. (Trauma care: FAQ, http://www.uchospitals.edu/pdf/uch_028322.pdf)