by Jillian Chubb
I can remember the very first time I decided that a hospital does not provide the kind of healing that people really need.
I was still in nursing school then, and I had a patient with multiple and complicated illnesses. I was used to seeing people in great amounts of physical suffering by this point, so his pain was not what made this particular patient stand out for me. Instead I found my compassion drawn out by a deep sense of hopelessness every time I entered the room. I realized that though all the medical interventions could help his physical body, I could do very little for the disease that was so much deeper in this man.
It has been some time since I cared for that particular patient, but my philosophy of practice has been forever changed by him and so many others like him. As a nurse I work at a local emergency department as well as at my part-time position at Mercy Ministries. I am continually reminded of the incredible differences between my two places of work.
I will be the first to admit that Emergency departments are important places for crisis response, however we often see the same individuals come through time after time with the same mental health issues. I often think it seems as though we are putting a Band-Aid on something that actually requires open heart surgery. At Mercy Ministries, however I have the privilege of being part of the “open heart surgery” that God is doing every day in young women’s lives.
We have many young women who come to Mercy with severe anxiety and depression; that comes with many labels. For one young one woman in particular I remember how she came in to our program with many such labels and with little hope of being seen, or seeing her self any differently. One day, a while into her stay at Mercy, I was in the kitchen when she came in so excited and said to me:
“I finally realized today that God loves me!”
As a person that has grown up in the church and has heard the phrase “God loves you” about a million times, I can say that I have never believed it more.
Since that very day there was a drastic change in this young woman. It was not necessarily in what she did but rather who she was. The way she carried herself, her very demeanor changed in a way I really can’t quite describe. Why it was in that moment, after hearing it over and over, that she made the connection I’ll never know, but this is the work of the Great Physician.
I find myself baffled more often than not, by the depth of the wounds that come through our doors. When I feel overwhelmed, which so often I do, I remind myself of the Great Physician who specializes in healing these deep wounds. It is always amazing to me how he knows exactly what each heart needs.