The only thing that ever excited me about my blessedly short career in nursing, was the opportunity to meet people and hear their stories. Often times they weren’t in a position to give it to me themselves, instead I had to glean what I could from the notes in the nursing history, which were often as compelling as a fiction novel.
On any given night I could read about triumphs, tragedies, broken and unbroken families, survivors and heroes. I could read about addiction and recovery and see the results of each one wrapped up in an ill fitting blue gown. Those written lines were important, but it was what was between them, that made the story so intriguing. I couldn’t always predict by the written story, the real one I would see written on their skin when I stepped into the room and snapped on my gloves. Poverty in circumstances didn’t always translate to poverty of the soul. Wealth in family and fortune didn’t always equal wealth of the spirit.
I remember one patient in particular, a woman I met on the maternity ward. She had a genetic disorder that caused her entire body to be covered in small tumors. Every inch of her body rebelled against her, and it couldn’t be beaten into submission with cosmetics or surgery or an airbrush. On paper and on first glance I pitied her. That is, until I spent ten minutes watching her. I saw her beauty then, her grace, her mother-love, the glow from every rebel cell. She was beautiful, and so well loved. Her baby didn’t see different, her baby saw mama. That’s all. She was one of the wealthiest, most beautiful women I’ve ever met. My pity said more about me than it did about her.
That’s the thing about stories, they teach us so much about who we are and who we are not. I love to know what’s behind the skin, the weary eyes, or the strong hands. They speak to me about who I am in the scheme of this very small life. They speak to me about who you are too.
What part of your story would you like to share? I’d love to hear it.