What I remember about my mother’s fall is hearing her scream and racing up the stairs to stop her backward slide. My mother was unable to move without pain. After a phone call to a practitioner, I called a Fern Lodge Christian Science nurse at her home to ask for suggestions. She offered to come right over, but my husband and I felt we could give the needed care if we knew how. The nurse gave us ideas to help move her down our fourteen stairs, through a long hallway and into bed. There, my mother seemed content, so we declined the nurse’s offer to come during the night, but we made an appointment for the next morning at our house.
You know, there is nothing quite so wonderful as a Christian Science nurse appearing at your door in an emergency! There she was at the appointed time with supplies, equipment, a sweet smile, loads of Christly love, and a touch of gentle humor! My Mum is a private and independent person, but the nurse put her completely at ease. Because something appeared to be out of place in my mother’s lower body, the nurse assessed the best way to handle her. I noticed how she quietly listened for divine guidance in determining each move. Her attitude was expectant that all was well. There was never a probing of matter, a discussion of symptoms, prognoses, diagnoses, fear or worry. The nurse began to show me what I needed to do for care at home. Several hours later, she commented that there was no evidence of anything being out of place. The healing had begun.
The first night, part of a Bible verse came to me, though slightly rearranged: God gently leads the child with mother. The actual verse (Isa. 40: 11) reads: “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” My version brought immediate comfort, courage, and kept my thought in the present, unconcerned with tomorrow, next week, or the probabilities of mortal mind.
For the next six days, the nurse returned each morning, teaching me further how to care for my mother. I was learning Christian Science nursing at home! And it was a very natural thing to do. The qualities I needed had been well exercised in raising my children and being a wife. Listening to Mind was an important part of my nursing. As my mother progressed daily, I had to change what I was doing. One night it came to her that she needed to get out of bed each day. Another time it came to her that she needed to get dressed each day. And so the healing continued.
Throughout this experience, my husband also supported healing by expressing tender nursing qualities. When I didn’t know how to solve a situation, he had a solution. Because of his height and strength, some things were easier for him to do. Each day he would make sure she had fresh flowers by her chair, and ice water after lunch along with mail and the paper.
Sometime during this experience, I recalled a conversation about the last by-law in the chapter, “Discipline, Article VIII, Guidance of Members,” in the Church Manual regarding the Christian Science nurse. A friend had said that this nursing by-law applies to each church member. I had never understood her point, until now. We each have the God-given Christly qualities to nurse another. We express nursing qualities naturally: nurturing our children, caring for a pet, tending a garden, making a meal, hosting a party, making a bed, comforting a friend, washing clothes, scrubbing a floor, listening to God as we pray. The Bible is filled with examples of nursing. So nursing is a Bible-based activity as well as Manual-based, applicable to everyone.