Late one December night on the cancer ward, the halls were quiet and solemn, the patients were asleep and most of the visitors were gone. The nurses were gathered about the nurse’s station preparing for shift change. Sarah, one of the nurses, was especially tired, having worked seven straight 12 hour days. The kids had needs, her husband had been laid off, and the house payment was due.
What kept her going was that in January she was going to find a new job. After ten years of answering call lights, working short staffed, putting up with constant administrative changes, she had decided that it was not worth the effort anymore.
PING. PING. PING. Sara angrily looked at the call light box, “Good grief!” The patient was a seventy-year-old woman. Sarah had been to her room at the end of the hall at least fifteen times. Angrily she started down the hall.
On her way, she suddenly stopped. She stood motionless as a soft voice wafted out of room 235.
“And then one day I’ll cross the river; I’ll fight life’s final war with pain; And then as death gives way to victory, I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives.”
Tears welled up in her eyes as she listened and thought about the young woman in that room — a thirty-five year old mother of two with cancer, with only a week to live, perhaps days. Sarah stood there, with tears in her eyes, remembering how this young terminal woman had such peace.
The patient would speak to everyone who came into her room and she would smile even in her pain and took the time to share her faith and let people know the reason for her peace was a faith in God. All the nurses who had been around her commented on her strength and how they had felt peace and calm after talking with this exceptional young woman..
“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow; Because He lives, all fear is gone Because I know who holds the future, Life is worth all the living, just because He lives.”
Unstoppable tears flowed as Sarah stood a few moments more, but the tears had taken on a newness. No longer were they tears of sadness for this young woman but tears of renewal that washed away the disappointment and disillusionment of her job, and the fear about the future.
Sarah started down the hall to answer the call light, but she was no longer going to check on some pestering old woman. She was going to the room of a patient, a person, a fellow human in need. Sarah no longer looked to January so she could quit — she looked to her next shift when she would again have the opportunity to serve her fellow man. Sarah left work with a new outlook on life. She had a rekindling of the spirit of service that had motivated her to become a nurse. Those fires had almost died, but for a young terminal woman who had the desire to be of service to her fellow man even unto death.
This is a reminder to me that the reason that we are on this earth at all is to be of service to each other.
— by Tony Collins