“Hi, I’m Rita, and I’m going to be your nurse today!” That’s how I greeted my last patient of the day, who sat for 10 minutes watching me run around before I finally made it over to introduce myself.
“Oh, I’ve been watching you! I can tell you love your job!” she said.
But in my head all I could think was, “We’re in the middle of our JACHO inspection! How did you mistake my fear and nervousness for a love of my job?” But the truth is, I do love my job. But yesterday? Yesterday I spent most of the day praying I would not be the chosen one for inspectors to follow around. (Every healthcare worker across the country “gets it!”)
This incredibly sweet lady went on to tell me that she too, loved her career. She ran a latchkey program in the inner city. She stays in touch with many of the kids she knew growing up in her school. She shared some fun stories, and then laughed remarking that I probably have some stories to tell too! We both giggled… Yes. Yes, I do!
She said her husband would frequently ask her when she’d come home from work, how in the world she could do it. She would tell him that she couldn’t imagine doing anything else. When I asked her how she enjoys her retirement years, she said that she and her husband now attend weddings and baby showers for many of the kids she had relationships with over the years in her latchkey program. Then she became tearful as she told me she had recently had to attend one of their funerals, as well.
When she left after her treatment, my patient gave me a great big hug. “I’ve never seen you here before, but it was really fun talking with you!” I agreed with her, “It was! It was so fun!”
I started the past couple of days out feeling rather defeated, which is unusual for me, but just couldn’t seem to pull myself out of a slump. God knew I needed to be encouraged, and He sent a perfect stranger to do it. He really does know just what we need, and when! I really hope in my retirement years, I look back at these busy, busy working years, as fondly as this sweet stranger does.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unaware.” Hebrews 13:2