patient stories, vocation

The Glory of Love

If there is one thing about nursing I love, it is sedating people. Maybe it all started when my friends and I laughed a little too hard and a little too often about the YouTube classic David after Dentist:

Whatever the reason, I love sedations. It has its risks and benefits, just like anything else in medicine, but at times, patients are absolute gems.

One of my favorites was a lovely middle-aged woman who came in with a very out of place ankle. She needed to be sedated twice. During the first, she broke out in a Christmas carol in the middle of it. We were not even near the month of December. The resident was trying so hard to be serious while fixing her, but we were all holding back big laughs.

I asked her about it when she woke up. She laughed and said the holiday was on her mind. She said that she and her husband had a deal that for every football game he watched, she could bring out a Christmas decoration. She loved the holiday a lot, and he loved the sport a lot. It was their compromise.

She had to be sedated again when the orthopedic doctor came to put it in place, this time singing a different Christmas tune with lyrics that were very incorrect but still made sense and rhymed. Sedation drugs are amazing.

The other day, I had my second singing patient. This time, it was an older gentleman who broke out into love songs. As he was coming out, he sang “Glory of Love,” which has been covered by various artists like Dean Martin and Bette Midler.

I asked him about it as he was still sleepily singing, and he said he had a wedding coming up. Together we sang the little bit I knew, “That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.”

As funny and charming and cute as singing sedated patients is, that man had no idea how much I needed that song that day. I especially needed the line, “You’ve got to give a little, take a little, and let your poor heart break a little.”

My crush did as the name implies recently. I really had a lot of hope for this one, and I feel really foolish investing the way I did. But looking over it much more gently than I normally do, I see a lot of hope. I was able to be vulnerable without knowing the outcome. That is not something I do naturally or easily at all. And I am proud of that growth.

It is comforting for my little heart to know that “you’ve got to win a little, lose a little, and always have the blues a little.” Heartache is part of the process, and being so open and vulnerable that I could get hurt is a big step for me. I’m naturally a person who weighs risks and benefits, doing little to nothing where the benefit is not clear or less worthwhile than the risks. But I let myself risk. I allowed space and time for things to unfold. I was generous. And I was imperfect a lot, but I actually allowed myself to be imperfect and myself, two things I do not usually do when I am interested romantically in someone.

As Ven. Fulton Sheen wrote in Life of Christ (which is one of my favorite go-to lines): “never is there any humiliation without a hint of glory.” I feel foolish, really, really foolish, but I also am starting to see all the growth and good with it. And that’s the glory of love.

The story of love is that is never unfolds like we think. There’s twists and turns, highs and lows, and happiness and heartbreak. But the glory of love is that when we love authentically and generously, our hearts become more like Christ and are able to love more perfectly.

Christ loved perfectly, and he was rejected, beaten, abandoned, and forgotten. It is not the outcome of love that matters but rather the love that was freely given. That freely given generous gift of self? That’s the glory of love. That kind of love transforms us into who God created us to be. That kind of love changes lives, even if it is just our own. That kind of love is powerful and more powerful than death and heartbreak.

It is always hard to come off of heartbreak with hope. But even as I cried alligator tears over this one, there was an undeniable feeling in my heart that my future husband will thank this man who broke my heart and that I am better off than I was before I met him.

I did not think I could be vulnerable with someone I was attracted to again. But I was. I did not think I could be reckless with my heart again. But I was. I did not think I could be generous with my affections when I did not know the outcome. But I was. I did not know I could be so much more confident in God and my vocation when my heart was broken. But I am.

God will not leave me bruised for long because “never is there any humiliation without a hint of glory.”

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