“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” Colossians 3:23-24 New International Version
The quote from above explains the idea I have always had for the four years that I worked for Fern Lodge. People never understood why during my college breaks I would go to a job that is forty-five minutes away from my house. I am not going to lie to you, it is not something that I was looking forward to doing at first. I wanted to enjoy my breaks and stay up late with my friends. However, I learned to love Fern Lodge because there were people who taught me that life was more about “having fun with your friends” during the breaks. Mary Baker Eddy wrote in her famous book Science and Health: “Love is reflected in love” (SH 17:7). The love that different patients have expressed to me made my work much more enjoyable. One winter break I had the chance to work for Robin Barben, Director of Activities, and I loved every minute of it. However, I never expected I would become her assistant, which I was on my final summer internship this year. She is so easy to talk to, especially about Christian Science. When she is happy she dances and jumps up and down. However, she is also firm and knows what she wants. That combination made me like her even more. Something that we both shared in different ways is the love for the patients and the willingness to help nurses. I would like to express my gratitude to Robin Barben for seeing my potential as a employee and for giving me the chance to express my love towards her department. I would also like to thank her for helping me enforce my skills for my next job and help me see what are the qualities that I needed to work on to become the perfect candidate as to whatever I decided to focus on in the near future. Finally, for the love and joy she shared with me.
I would like to express my gratitude to many people like Margarita de Ley, Carlos Ley, Hilda Palomares, Donna (Mama Diva), Brian Stock, George Strong, Beatriz PonLopez, Adrienne Marshall and Ben Cahill. Each and every one of these staff members have open their hearts to me since the first time I interned in Fern Lodge. But the love that they shared with me have been so pure that they stand out in my life. I would like to say thank you for all of the love, joy, advice, and laughter they selflessly shared with me.
Finally, this little paragraph is for all the interns that share memories with me. Thank you for joining me every break in a new and fun adventure at Fern Lodge. You guys were able to bring a fresh environment every time, which were filled with great and consistence learning experiences! Each of them brought their different sense of humor, culture, and light to my life. Thank you.
Fern Lodge is a place for healing, and not only for the patients or by the nurses. I was given the opportunity to work for a day in various departments, such as laundry, housekeeping, and breakfast kitchen, and from these experiences, I learned that nursing and healing is everyone’s work. The housekeepers and the maintenance staff nurse the Fern Lodge facility through their selfless and dedication to helping the patients. The breakfast kitchen workers also nursed the patients and staff by lovingly preparing breakfast for everyone so that they can get off to a good start to the day.
Most of my days at Fern Lodge were focused on Christian Science nursing. I worked on the nursing floor, feeding the patients, reading the Bible lesson to patients, and giving them loving care. These were the opportunities for me to handle my fears as well as to witness healing. I also learned that the ministry of Christian Science nursing is a wonderful service—a service to impart truth, health, and happiness.
Fern Lodge was my home for almost five weeks, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to intern in the facility. It is a home of love, characterized by care, healing, and a sense of family.
While Jamie was not technically an intern, the FLOCK daycare program for employee children is part of summers at Fern Lodge, and interns may have the opportunity to participate in this program. Therefore, we are including her notes on the FLOCK program for those interested. Jamie is a non-traditional student from Principia College.
At the very beginning of the summer, I asked myself, if there is only thing that I want the children to take away from FLOCK. What will it be? I opened the Bible one night and this passage stood out for me, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Cor 9:7). Be a cheerful giver! Yes. There is nothing else more important than learning to give.
In the center of the FLOCK space there is our gratitude tree. Younger children also call it love tree. We wrote down our gratitude (or love letter) on a piece of paper leaf and put it up on the tree. When I was first day explaining this idea to the children, most of them were not sure what to write or even refused to do it. I even had doubt in myself if this project would work. The end of the second day, I was surprised that they all turned in their leaves . The next day, they would shout out during the day what they were grateful for. There were times I was distracted by the activities we did outside and forgot about it, some children would come back in and write down things on their own. I was often touched by what they felt grateful for. Sometimes they can be simple ones like, “Thank you mama for making us snacks. I love you.” “I am grateful for Mary letting us play with her cats.” Sometimes they were deep, “I am grateful for all kind and nice people here.” Some of those even taught me a lesson. “I am grateful for my sense of humor.” “I am grateful for making others smile and happy.” I questioned myself when I saw those, when is last time I was grateful for being a giver. We often associate ourselves as a receiver when we think of things to be grateful for. But by recognizing that we have something to give is indeed something we all need to be grateful for.
When we made art and crafts, we draw and wrote letters on balloons and give them to patients. The children built together an amazing cat castle for one patient’s cats. When we were outside picking plums, I noticed that the boys started to argue about who had more plums. I went up to them and combine all their plums in one basket and said, “We are not only going to share with each other. We are going to give those to everyone at Fern Lodge, people in the office, kitchen and patients.” By the end of the day, I was thrilled to see the boys holding a plate of plums, walking around the facility and giving away plums to everyone. They realized that nothing is more exciting and satisfying than being a giver.
There is so much we can give. The children taught me a great lesson with their action and expression of love and care for others. After hearing that the children are still visiting the patients even after I left, I finally realize that they are all naturally healers. We are all born to be a healer. Fern Lodge’s mission is to heal and FLOCK is here to heal.