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A Reminder Why Faith-Based Teams Matter — Eric the Nurse

As we move into a new year, most of us find ourselves reflecting on the past 12 months and reevaluating our priorities for the year to come. As we do this, we as a company want to be aware of why it is we do what we do, and realign ourselves with our mission. The story below comes from a trauma nurse at Parker Adventist Hospital, one of FaithSearch’s healthcare division clients. It’s a touching reminder of why every faith-based organization matters and why what we do at FaithSearch matters. We are helping to build teams in ministry, healthcare and academia that spread the love of Christ to others, from a leaders making organizational decisions to a nurse changing dressings in a trauma ward. Please take the time to read Eric’s poignant reminder of our mission.

On January 28, I arrived at work a little before 8:00, when my shift began. As usual, I was briefed by the head nurse of the evening, and she discussed the injuries of the people I would be helping and the rooms they were in. One patient she spoke of really took hold of my attention. She warned me that when I entered his room, he would raise his arm to hold my hand and ask for my name. He would then tell me how grateful and appreciative he was for the amazing care he had been receiving and how he believed with all his heart we as nurses were handpicked by God to do for others what they were not capable of doing themselves. She told me he had a broken back and two broken legs from a 20-foot ladder fall.

As I entered his room, his eyes slowly opened from a morphine-induced stupor, and he raised his arm, just as expected.

“Hey, what’s your name?” he asked, fully expecting me to grasp his outstretched hand.

“My name is Eric,” I replied. “Man, you did a heck of a number on yourself, huh?”

“In 25 years, the rubber feet of the ladder of never slid on tile,” he replied disgustedly, “but now I have learned the hard way to never take ladders for granted, and to take a lot more care all the time.”

“Eric, I have a favor to ask of you,” he continued, tightening his grip on my hand. “When you have checked on all the other patients and made sure that their needs are met, would you please take a little extra time with me and help with the pads that are on my back? They are all rolled up in bunches and are very uncomfortable in my back brace.”

I assured him there would be no problem with that and added that I could do it right then if he wished. He smiled back at me and released my hand.

“Please attend to the others’ needs first, then come back. I’m sure there are greater needs than mine, and I know you just arrived to start your shift,” he said. I looked the man in the eyes and assured him I’d be back soon.

“By the way,” I said, “You know my name as Eric, but what is yours?”

“My name is Mark, and thank you so much for what you do.”

I left for a half an hour or so to check on the other patients. Everything seemed to be under control, but as Mark requested, I took care of their needs first. I returned to Mark’s room with more adhesive pads, some baby powder, and a warm water container with a wash cloth. Mark smiled as I entered the room.

“Everyone else okay on the floor?” he asked.

“As you can imagine, there’s some pretty bad trauma in most of the rooms, but none any worse than yours, that’s for sure.” I replied. “Alright buddy, let’s roll you over and check out these pads that seem to be so uncomfortable.”

I grabbed the turn pad Mark was positioned on — a 3×3 material designed to help nurses slide a patient from side to side without rolling them too close to the bed’s edge. As I positioned Mark facing away from me, he asked me a question.

“Would you like to hear a story while you take care of this issue?”

Having only met Mark briefly, I did not know what I was committing to, but figured a story wouldn’t hurt anything. So I agreed as I changed his padding.

Mark began telling me a story of a stone fireplace he was working on during the Christmas season a couple of years prior. He said he was working on the top corner of the fireplace where the pitch of the ceiling met a large beam, creating a triangle-shaped opening to fill. It was a difficult section that required a lot of extra time to find the right sized stones to make it look good.

“I must have tried about 20 pieces in this one area until I took a deep breath, paused, and peacefully located the right-sized stones in the large pile atop the scaffold.”

It was very late, and Mark needed to get home, but he said he really wanted to finish the last antagonizing area that was taking up so much time.

“As I put the final, perfectly shaped stone into place, a voice quietly commented these words,” he said. “‘Mark, I want to thank you for taking your time on this job. I’ve been watching you for over ten minutes and I’m amazed with the heart and soul you’re putting into my job. I just wanted to thank you for doing such a nice job for me.’”

Mark said he turned around see April, his client, had been watching him for some time.

As he ascended down the scaffolding, he shocked April with these words: “I’m really not doing this fireplace for you, April. I’m doing it for Jesus, and I figured if it was good enough for him, it would probably be good enough for you.”

Mark told me he’d never said that to any of his clients before and that the look on her face was pure astonishment.

“That is the most incredible thing any contractor has ever said to me,” April responded as tears rolled down her cheeks.

By now, Mark was standing in front of April.

“I honestly don’t think it was I who was talking to you just then, do you know what I mean?” he said.

April smiled and nodded, realizing the Holy Spirit was upon them both in a very impactful way. They hugged. He thanked her for supporting him with such a substantial job that was really blessing his family during the Christmas season. She could only smile as the tears continued to roll joyfully down her face.

By the time Mark had finished the story of the Christmas Fireplace, I had removed the bunched-up padding that had been uncomfortably sticking to his skin. I washed his back and sides with warm soapy water, removing the old residue of the padding. Then I sprinkled baby powder over the new padding I had put on. Mark commented how nice the powder smelled and that it really comforted his irritated skin. I could tell his spirit was being challenged as he thought of the long road to recovery he was facing.

“Eric, do you know why I wanted to share that story with you?”

“Not really, but it was a pretty cool story bud,” I responded. “Why did you want to share it with me?”

With a solemn voice he replied, “Because I feel like what you just did for me and my back was just like you did it for Jesus, and guess what – if it was good enough for him, it darn sure was good enough for me.”

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