The Tender Word
When I came to work this morning, I saw a precious scene. A little girl, the daughter of one of our staff members, was sitting at the breakfast table with two patients, helping one of them to eat breakfast. The staff member said, “Look, you have a new nurse!” As I watched this dear child tenderly encourage the patient, I saw love in the patient’s eyes. She said to the little girl, “Look at the sunlight. Isn’t it a beautiful day!”
I was reminded of how wonderful it is to see patients who come to Fern Lodge in need of Christian Science nursing overcome even the most aggressive challenges. This same patient, some time ago, had come to Fern Lodge, in part, because she was dealing with the suggestion that she did not want to live. She told us she couldn’t understand why she was alive and she was unhappy about it. The first few weeks she was here, she would try to leave the facility. Many times her family and our loving staff, with the steadfast support of her practitioner, lovingly persuaded her to stay. Each time they assured her that she is a loved and valued member of the Fern Lodge community. Even in those first weeks, there were glimmers of who she really was. She wrote poetry and would gladly read it to the other patients and to our staff. She was a wonderful reader. Each day, I heard our staff tell her that she is loved. I heard other patients express love to her.
One day, at breakfast time, as I was sitting in my office, I heard five different staff members tell her “We love you!.” I have seen them gently and tenderly help her to eat, to walk, to bathe, to read, and to find enjoyment in life. Their actions were genuine and heartfelt expressions of their love for her. I have seen the effect of this outpouring of love on this dear lady. Over time, she has become more grateful and appreciative. One day recently, she came back to Fern Lodge from a trip to the redwoods beaming. She said, for the first time, “This is my home.” It was as if the outpouring of love our staff gave her was like a purifying river, washing away her fears and healing her unhappiness.
The Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, says (p. 367), “The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love.” I have seen this tender word heal many times and I saw it again today.
Thank you for your loving support of our healing mission.
Lin Watts, Director of Christian Science Nursing