Lately I have been thinking a lot about why I didn't go into nursing. I mean, I know why I didn't start out studying nursing and why I didn't even lean slightly towards its beckoning call as an undergraduate student. This would be due to the prideful, stubborn and naive me, that constantly reminded myself that "I didn't want to answer orders from anyone," and that "I wanted to be The One giving orders."
But, even after emerging (thankfully) from my self-centered and unrealistic me (at about age 22), I could have changed directions, even after getting an undergraduate degree, and yes, even after getting married. But why didn't I have the courage to do so, even then?
While my husband finished his studies at BYU, I remember listening to an address titled, "Learning The Healer's Art," given by Elaine Marshall, Dean of the BYU College of Nursing in the Fall of 2002. Her words were magical for me. While I listened to her address, I wondered if I should go into nursing, but, while listening, I also held a chubby 1-week old newborn son in my arms. I kept a copy of her address which was printed in the BYU magazine a year later. Even now it stirs me and pushes me towards action. I got it out the other day to share it with a friend who is thinking of going into nursing. It is so beautiful, it makes me want to enroll in a nursing course of study - tomorrow.
Here are a few of the highlights from her address, in which she taught about six lessons she had learned about "the healer's art." I think her address can be applied in so many ways to all of us.
* Healing Hurts
"I have learned that healing hurts. Life hurts. Healing really only begins when we face the hurt in its full force and then grow through it with all the strength of our soul... Pain is part of living. Pain brings us to the source of healing... We can partake of the healing medicine of the Atonement of our Savior, who promised, "I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee" (2 Kgs. 20:5)."
* Healing Is Active
"You have to face the problem and the pain. To begin healing, you must acknowledge and feel the hurt... It requires time... healing needs work and time and energy. Healing cannot happen in a surgical suite where the pain is only a sleepy memory. Cure is passive, as you submit your body to the practitioner. Healing is active. It requires all the energy of your entire being. You have to be there, fully awake, aware, and participating when it happens.
* Healing Is Private
"Healing is not only private, it is sacred. Private healing is not healing by abandonment. There is something so sacred about partaking of the power of the Atonement to overcome suffering, disappointment, or sin that it happens in the privacy of that special relationship between the mortal and the divine. Healing involves a private personal communion with the Savior, the Master Healer. It inspires a very personal reverence and awe... much of the work of healing is done alone, inside the heart, in the company of the Spirit of the Lord... It happens as a process of living... It happens quietly while you face the pain. It happens over time as you live, work, study, and give to others."
* Healing Teaches Us
"Pain changes us, but not in the same way that healing teaches us. Healing can help us to become more sensitive and more awake to life. Healing inspires repentance and obedience. Healing invites gifts of humility and faith. It opens our hearts to the profound complexities of truth, beauty, divinity, and grace."
* We Must Help Others to Heal
"President Hinckley admonished: "As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, ours is a ministry of healing, with a duty to bind the wounds and ease the pain of those who suffer." Every day someone in your path is hurting, someone is afraid, someone feels inadequate, someone needs a friend. Someone needs you to notice, to reach out, and to help him or her to heal. You may not know who that is at the time, but you can give encouragement and hope. You can help to heal wounds of misunderstanding and contention. You can serve "in the cause of the Master Healer."
* Healing Is the Gift of the Savior
"If you have pain or sorrow or disappointment or sin or just a grudge that needs healing, the Savior simply says, "Come unto me." I have been humbled and amazed by how much of the Lord's mission on this earth was devoted to healing... More than 180 years ago, the heavens were opened, and some 160 years ago, the Relief Society began the education of nurses to care for the healing needs of the Saints. Fifty years ago, a college of nursing was born at BYU to enable students to learn science, skill, and healing. Today each of us at this university with its special mission has a unique opportunity to come to know the Master Healer and to learn the healer's art. I leave you my testimony that He lives, the Savior, the Master Healer, the One "with healing in his wings" (Mal. 4:2)."
Wasn't that good? Wow, it just gets me all over! So, maybe in a few years, when all of my kids are in school full day, (it seems like they are gone for so long during the day!), I will pursue that a bit more... But, for now, I need to go make dinner and do some laundry.