How ironic is it that my profession requires me to have a bottomless well of patience in dealing with some very frail, anxious people. Somehow, I manage to show a gentler side of me than what my family is used to. This week, however, I met someone who really challenged me.
I first heard from this client before Christmas when he phoned and asked many, many questions about the work I do but didn’t make an appointment. I didn’t hear from him again, which is fine. A couple of weeks ago, he phoned again and asked the same questions. He included a very long and detailed medical history which I didn’t need to know at the moment.
This time he booked an appointment, which is fine. Literally one hour before the designated time I was to see him, I checked my voicemail to find that he abruptly cancelled, for no real reason. Which is not fine. Even though I offer a nursing service, this is still a business and time is money. I was doubly peeved because someone else had wanted the time slot I had given this man.
A few days later, he called again to re-book. I hesitated, but agreed to come and see him. This time, he didn’t cancel.
As soon as I saw him, I sensed a feeling of anxiety, embarrassment, uncertainty and fear from the gentleman. He spoke very deliberately and seemed to have a great need to have his story heard. He was also very frail, with enough pill bottles to fill a shoebox, which is where he kept his pills.
He was very embarrassed to have me look at his feet, mumbling sheepishly, “oh nurse, I bet you’ve never seen feet this bad before.” Actually, I’ve seen plenty worse and I told him that.
My first visit with him lasted a bit longer than usual. Not only was there much work to do with his feet, but he just wanted someone to listen to him. When I finished, he asked for a follow-up appointment and was even laughing and joking with me as I headed out the door.
Someone told me that we work out our salvation in the events of our life – the people, the daily grind, the ordinary, the hidden and the mundane. God speaks to us in the events of our life.
Maybe one of the reasons God allows me to do my work is to tell me, like my hubby, that patience is not my forte. Maybe the way I’m supposed to practise patience, With His grace, of course, is through my family, my clients, being stuck in traffic – ordinary events which serve an un-ordinary purpose, my salvation. There are certainly enough things in the day that try what patience I do have. How I react to them shows me how much I don’t have. And that’s good.
OK, God. Bring it on. Those events of life that are for my own good. But make sure You send me plenty of grace, too. And thank You that Your patience, unlike mine, doesn’t move at the speed of light.