Sometimes it happens after I pray about something and it feels like an answer to that prayer or a series of prayers about a particular something... other times it comes in the form of thoughts that are with me suddenly and constantly and if I forget them, I am reminded again by something I read or see.
I do believe that if you keep running into something- either truly or symbolically- something inside you just knows that there is a purpose behind it, like it was meant to be. Like there is a real chance that God wants you to see it or think about it for a reason.
I also believe that when this happens it is always because the thoughts you have as a result are for the purpose of striking goodness in you for the better, or improving even the tiniest aspect of your life or who you are. In turn, maybe it is also meant to improve the life of someone else in the long run.
Writing this feels a bit like writing in my journal, but these are just some thoughts I have had lately that I thought I would share...
A few weeks ago, my Mama and I spent an evening up late watching a detective mystery. I forget the name of what it was called, but it was from a series of movies that sometimes show on the Hallmark channel, good mysteries that are very interesting to watch. Although the plot was good, there was a scene close to the beginning that left an imprint on my heart and thoughts... a scene that out of the whole movie only lasted about a minute. Yet, it had more impact on me than any other part of the mystery.
The scene is so clear in my mind: a young man who is a nurse at a hospital is kneeling at the bedside of an elderly woman. She looks very ill, maybe not even completely conscious, and it becomes clear that she is probably about to pass away. The young man is so sweet and kind and caring. I know he was only an actor, but he had that in his eyes. He stays with the woman, whose own son did not even come to be with her, caressing her forehead and telling her it's going to be okay. He spends her final moments with her, just comforting her like this. It's just about the sweetest thing I ever saw.
At that moment, two things went through my mind: one, someday I want to marry someone who has a heart of such kindness. And two, I wish I could be there for others like he was for that lady.
Being a good person is something I think about a lot. I think a lot of people do, but probably most of the time we all think of goodness in terms of doing good deeds in our regular everyday life. Like when we go to the grocery store, are we honest when someone drops some money by tapping them on the shoulder and giving it back? Or do we let someone with a few items go ahead of us in line just to be kind?
I always want to make sure I am kind in these ways, but I also start thinking about ways of helping others and showing kindness where I have to go out of my way, not just in everyday life by doing what is convenient.
Seeing the young man touched my heart so much and made me desire to be like him. It made me realize that being just like him is in fact something I could do for others, particularly children or the elderly who are ill or hospitalized.
Being a caring person is more important to me than any other aspect of being a "good" or "decent" person that I can think of... this reminded me that when I was younger and not so busy with the mundane things of life, I used to go with my church and do ministry in nursing homes. We would visit the residents there and read scripture with them or just talk to them or pray with them. My childhood friends took part in this often, and likely they still do, but school started to make me so busy and I didn't have the time to go with them anymore... but the reason I stopped going was not only on account of that.
I couldn't handle being in the nursing homes because they made me sick. Despite many of the nice people there, I admit that I am weak in that I have never been able to handle suffering. I saw so many of them looking so ill and they looked uncomfortable and so sad and that made me sad.
Similar to nursing homes are hospitals... I have been inside many hospitals throughout my life and other than going in to see a new baby that has just been born, I hate going inside them too. The smell of the air just reminds me of death and sickness, probably because that's what is happening inside... but I have seen a person die in a hospital right before my eyes, taking their last breath.
I have also seen other things I wish I hadn't. Of all the times I have been inside hospitals for less than wonderful reasons, twice I have almost fainted at things I saw or walked by. I even had to sit down and put my head between my knees after I saw iodine on my Daddy's leg after he had surgery a couple of years ago! Now, that is pretty bad.
I'd like to say that I am strong in those situations. But I guess the "Steel Magnolia" I hope to be wilts whenever I am inside any place of suffering. I just can't do it.
I don't want to sound selfish either... or be selfish. Because I know that this may sound crazy. Afterall, it isn't like I am actually the one going through the suffering. But I guess my weakness is that I just feel for people so much that knowing they are hurt or dying makes me feel physically ill.
When I was not even a teenager yet, my Mama was a caregiver for a wonderful elderly woman who lived in a nursing home for awhile. That nursing home was different though. The people seemed happier and healthier there, so maybe that's why I didn't mind it. We used to visit her often, though, and read to her and talk with her too. I would go along when I wasn't in school. Old and wise people are so wonderful and interesting to have a conversation with.
I think my thoughts are going all over the place, but what I mean to say is that- going back to the young nurse and the elderly sick woman- seeing what he did and what that must have meant to her made me wish so badly that I could overcome my weakness and do the same.
Two parts of myself that I value when it comes to who I am play into my feelings on this as well...
A God-fearing, moral person.
And a hospitable and kind person.
When I think of being hospitable (other than thinking of "Southern hospitality", I usually think of bringing someone going through a rough time a pot of something or a dessert they will enjoy. I also think of being hospitable to guests through making them feel at home.
But lately it has occurred to me how equally important it is to show that hospitality to others anywhere... like at a hospital or anywhere where someone needs comfort. Old or young.
A few years ago, I had a longtime aspiration to become a nurse. I wanted to show love and compassion to people and was actually hoping to become a neonatal nurse. This was put to an end when I realized just how much my issue with hospitals effected me... and also after thumbing through a textbook about everything involved in being a nurse. I knew then and there that I wouldn't be able to make it through the awful things I would see in my studies to be a nurse, let alone actually becoming one. The desire to compassionately care and nurture the ill as I would have had I pursued it is still inside of me though... and I think that has a lot to do with wanting to do more for others in that respect.
I think it would mean a lot to the elderly especially, whether they are going to be okay and just want some company, or they are going to pass away. Someone to sit by their side through that would I'm sure be a true comfort.
A couple of my closest friends volunteer in hospitals and I admire that... I think it would be wonderful to do that as a candy striper if they even have those anymore, or if not something as official, just make visits to them or bring gifts to bring a smile to someone's face.
With the new year approaching, this is something that I have been thinking about, something I want to do, something that I hope to be a part of my life... to make a difference in a life whether it is on a small or large scale.
It is in my prayers that I can get past my weaknesses and fears that hold me back from actually doing it, to gain strength and courage on this, and that in time I can do it.
Just some thoughts on courage, fears, and hopes on my heart for the coming year.
. . .
Is there anything you have on your mind you would like to do with your life soon? Any fear or weakness you pray about or hope to get past?
Thankyou for reading.