I was 16 years old when I received a call from my mom—I was across town at a friend’s house for the day. It was a very hot Florida day in August 1984, and my Dad, 44 years old, had been out cutting the grass. He was feeling winded and diaphoretic, so he stopped for some cold water and a cigarette. That didn’t work. It quickly escalated to intense chest pain and panic—my mother insisted he lay down in the back seat of the station wagon while she drove at high speed to the local Air Force Hospital. They confirmed quickly that he was having a massive heart attack. That day changed the Lester family.
It changed the way we ate, it changed my parent’s personal habits; it changed the way we interacted; it changed my future.
My father had a couple of years of serious medical problems; I was often the one who helped care for him. My mother had recently returned to work outside the home, my oldest brother had just left for college, and I rose to the opportunity. In fact, I loved it. I didn’t mind cleaning up after bathroom messes or dirty bandages, delivered medications on time, became the walking / Physical therapy partner, and all-around encourager. Our family starting eating heart-healthy meals together, my mom and dad quit smoking after 40 years, we all began an exercise regimen, and we practiced more graciousness towards one another. We were thankful for a new beginning towards a healthier lifestyle. Two years later, I followed my brother to the state university to begin my studies in Nursing.
I love everything about Nursing. I love the science & wonder of how the body works; I love learning & teaching the interactions of medications with disease processes and healthy lifestyles; I love the hope that arises when healing takes place and the joy found in new life and fresh starts. It is a privilege to be trusted by people in their most vulnerable states, to advocate for their best interest, and to share personal moments that change lives. I love that God uses our personal history to shape us in our careers, and offers unique opportunities for us to comfort others with the same comfort we have received from Him.
It brings to mind the well-known lyrics, “And even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with you honey”. It’s a well-known story. Couples living paycheck to paycheck for years, sometimes decades, finding pleasure in the simple things in life.
It is a privilege to be trusted by people in their most vulnerable states, to advocate for their best interest, and to share personal moments that change lives. I love that God uses our personal history to shape us in our careers …
The couple was quiet, but not upset. There were some tears, but not of despair, more of awe. Later, as I thought about it, it seemed to be a sacred awe. One that feels like fear, but weighs like a privilege.