Belonging Day 24: Gaining Eternal Perspective

I’ve been out of town for a few days with the kids and belong with my husband right now. Therefore, I can not be laboring behind a computer all evening…. but I do have this #write31days thing I’m doing and tonight’s no exception.

Our trip took us back to Michigan to fulfill an obligation I had to teach at a community college nursing skills lab. I had made the commitment before we moved 3 1/2 hours away—the instructor had scheduled me months in advance and I didn’t want to put her in a bind. Plus, it’d be a bonus to see family living near-by, so I planned on it and it worked out.

A little background on nursing school. It’s kind of like jail. Or hell. Or both. As a student nurse you’re a little minion forced to live in a strange and lonely microcosm of labs, clinicals and care plans s you transition from mere mortal to a professional nurse. It involves giving injections to fruits, having entire conversations with plastic mannequins and doing a myriad of things in front of the professors that can’t wait to give you a long list of ways you’ve totally failed at your task.

Since I really did not find myself flourishing in nursing school, I love teaching and sharing hope with the up and comers. “This is important, but it’s also a lot of hoop-jumping. It WILL get better. School might be tough, but nursing is a great career.”

Our skills lab day was focusing on sterile techniques. For 8 hours, I watched the greenest of the green baby nurses demonstrate their newly learned skills of preparing supplies and changing a sterile dressing. Not one of the 15 students I observed didn’t have noticeably shaky hands; their whole world was this 25 minute check off.  As I gave feedback usually my most positive and gentle tones, they still were crestfallen and their errors and a couple of them even had their eyes filling with tears.

I became a nurse 15 years ago and with all that experience behind me, I have what they didn’t have: perspective. Every single one of them messed up something, but they didn’t understand yet, that’s o.k. You just have to know how to work with your mistakes. I tried to give them some old nurse wisdom, “The absolute worst thing that is going to happen if you break your sterile field is that you have to go back to the supply room and start over.” I shared the ways I messed up as a nurse and iterated that no nurse is perfect, they just know what to do when something doesn’t go as planned.

The way those sweet students stood over their plastic, catatonic mannequin patients with shaky hands reminds me of me when I lose perspective—I make a really big of a deal out of little things and my emotions are often there to prove it.

We don’t have professors coaching us through our “shaky hand moments” as adults, but we do have the overview of God’s plan in his Word. He paints the big, eternal picture for us and whenever we place our small concerns in context of that, we gain a little more of his eternal perspective each time. And then we will be equipped to tell those coming behind us spiritually, like I shared with the nursing students, it gets better! As eternal perspective is gained, we’ll realize how big we make the small things that don’t have an impact on eternity.

 

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