These Hands of Yours.

“I have recognized God’s hands scrubbing my matted hair and sweaty, bedridden body, or bringing me fresh water or making my bed. It is His hands that caught me when I fell, and worked to figure out how to make the text size larger on my cell phone. This is a place all about healing.”

This is part of a letter written to me by a patient I have cared for on multiple occasions. I started crying just a few sentences in, and the tears kept creeping out of my eyes long after I finished it. This job can be tiring. There are days where am constantly cleaning up soiled briefs or vomit. There are patients that are mentally exhausting with endless demands and criticism. There are large, hairy bodies that I must scrub, despite their grudging wishes. This job can leave you feeling entirely exhausted and degraded.

Until you hear words like hers.

She told me how much of an impact I had on her during her stays, and how often she thought of me during her recovery. She assured me of the great doctor I will one day become because of the many gifts I possess. Her words made me reconsider some of my own routine habits, with statements like this:

“Have you ever felt frustrated by your own limitations, often to the point of tears, only to be told “it’s ok” or “you’re doing great”?”

Her words resonated deep in my spirit, fueling the fire that drove me into medicine in the first place. The same feeling I felt when handing a broken, poverty stricken mother a simple antibiotic for her crying child. The same feeling I felt when braiding a small girls hair in the hospital bathroom, while her mother is wheeled off for a medical procedure. It is a clarity; a swelling of warmth and profound understanding. This is my purpose. This is God’s love working through my hands.

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