Becoming a Nurse: It’s a Calling

“I love that, it’s so true.”

Not the usual thing I hear when I come back after a break. Neither is seeing a group of student nurses clustered around my notes reading this:

“We cannot live in a world that is not our own, in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening, to use our own voice, to see our own light.”

Hildegard Von Bingen

It’s a quote I wrote on a post-it in my workshop notes and it caught their attention.

It sparked a passionate talk about how to bring their professionalism and humanity bedside at the same time.

And I thought afterwards about why it is that all the medical protocols; procedures and technologies these women had learned will never replace an understanding glance or reassuring touch.

They know that already though.

For them, nursing is interpreting a patient’s world through the compassion in their own, and afraid or not trusting it enough to act on it.

Nursing – it’s a calling.

By the Heart On the Byward Market


Byward Market

“So, what has you by the heart these days?” she said with one of those looks that only friends who’ve know us forever can have.

I didn’t have an answer. So I decided to spend a day walking through the Byward Market. It’s always filled with people and brims inspiration.

I bought fresh cut flowers and found a bench where I could write. I wanted to imagine life stories for the endless stream of passers by and look at my own with new eyes.

I felt content. You know, the kind of content that grabs your heart and makes you fall in love with the whole world, with just being alive. Can happen is a second. Usually does.

That knowing had me by the heart. Then she did:

I heard her laughter before I saw her – bare shouldered, arms flying, sandals in hand, sun burned nose. I didn’t want to stare, but I couldn’t take my eyes off her and it took a second to understand what was happening.

The flower sellers had just watered everything. There were puddles everywhere and THIS grandmother was a woman on a mission; granddaughter in tow, she was jumping in all of them.

“I spy with my little eye…another one!” she’d say pointing and off they’d run.

Puddles-1-1024x682 It was one of those moments when you can actually feel delight moving through space. You catch it from another person and it becomes yours too.

That kind of childlike exuberance is such a simple natural thing, but the gift of witnessing it, knowing it was a once in a lifetime moment and inexplicably had me by the heart filled it with mystery.

It had come from nowhere and was totally unexpected but I had an answer to my friend’s question… moments like that day’s.