To Be Human Is Enough
After Mother Teresa's death, it was revealed that in private correspondence she wrote of not feeling the presence of God - of lack of faith and spiritual anguish. Helen Keller, who spent her life fighting for suffrage and the rights of the disabled, was a radical socialist. Florence Nightingale was a long-term user of opiates. These facts are a comfort to me.
My pursuit of an NP license was a complete change. It took a lot of deep self-reflection, research and critical thinking. When I told friends about my plan, I got several replies along the same theme. "When did you get the calling?" I couldn't put my finger on why this put my teeth on edge.
I read an article the other day in which nurses were referred to as "Angels of Mercy." A quick Google search turned up instances in which nurses were referred to as saints, righteous, holy. Have they met the people I'm working with? This comparison to the divine bothers me. I do believe that there is an art to nursing. I do believe that nursing, like many other professions, requires an emotional investment. But I believe that nursing is hard enough without involving religion or god, however that may be defined defined. The idea that nurses are to be somehow more holy or moral than those they care for cheapens the sacrifices we make.
So, when I read that Mother Theresa struggled with her faith; yet continued to minister to the sick- that Florence Nightingale struggled with addiction even as she revolutionized the profession of nursing, I feel comforted. They were human, like I am human. To be human is enough to do truly great things.