Lessons of a Christian Science nurse — Robin Barben, Activities Director and Christian Science nurse

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My first memorable lesson happened on the day I met my first patient while in my first weeks of Christian Science nurses training. On one hand, these incredible metaphysical teachings were being given to me in class, and I delighted in the ideas, but I had yet to practice them on the nursing floor, and I still held a very material and unenlightened concept of Christian Science nursing. I was quickly learning that I needed a more spiritually-minded outlook to match my actions and activity, but it hadn’t yet come alive for me.

I was introduced to a patient who had worked for Walt Disney. As I reached out looking for a practical way to be helpful and loving, I opened my thought to the divine perspective I was learning. Instantly I was struck by a wave of love that was so dynamic I knew it had to be God. This love encompassed me in the most radical way during those few moments, and God’s pure love became my only consciousness. I felt deeply connected to her, to God, to myself. Although we had just met, I saw beyond the picture of an elderly woman in a wheelchair, and I felt the beauty and purity of her true identity with what I felt of my own (just newly and momentarily discerned) purity. It was a definite Apostle Paul experience, where I literally felt the room around us flooded in Light as it dawned on me what nursing, day in and day out, would be for me. I was going to learn about God as infinite Love, and also how to imbibe the Spirit of that Love in ways that have changed my relationship to my daily life in every way. God gave me the grace in that one moment of divine consciousness to see that every moment in nursing could be an awakening to fully experiencing God as divine Love. I suddenly knew why I had been led to Fern Lodge. But I also learned that although God gave me that one perfect moment, I would have to overturn a lot of mortal thinking to learn to live more and more within than perfect and pure consciousness.

I began to learn how false beliefs and their correlating fears kept me from accepting divine Love as my own consciousness. One day, I was working with four patients and each one seemed to require a lot of time. I started to feel that dreaded feeling when the idea of time becomes a dominating factor in thought and begins to impinge on my experience. Fear of not being able to finish, and fear of feeling suddenly burdened, threatened to rob me of my joy. After getting the first patient up and out of bed, I heard in my thought, “Make the bed.” It was a very clear message. I knew exactly what to do, but because I felt the pressure of being limited by time, I balked at this direction. But, as directions do, it came again, “Make the bed.” “But we have housekeepers who do that,” I reasoned to myself. I didn’t see how it was even possible to add one more thing to my activities. A third time the message came strongly to my mind, and this time I felt impelled to follow the directions given. I felt the resistance break and a strong, impelling force made me feel capable of completing the task.

So I made the bed. After the next patient’s morning care I received the same instruction, “Make the bed.” I’m sure I rolled my eyes, but now that I was pretty sure where the direction was coming from. So after the initial resistance quieted down, I made the bed. I made all four beds, each time being given a strength to overcome an adamant insistence and resistance to time being what governed my actions. I didn’t fully get what God was showing me until the end of my shift. I had made four extra beds, requiring more time than I had. And yet I had finished my work a half hour early. That had never happened, and I had the same four patients every day for a quite a while.

Obeying God’s directions and doing what is asked, regardless of any material resistance and temptation to skip over these spiritual impulsions, is one of many ongoing lessons that has brought God’s grace into nursing rooms in ways I could never have imagined. One of the biggest lessons for me is learning that the Kingdom of Heaven is an actual consciousness, where Mind knows, and let’s you know, too. One day I was facilitating a Bible-lesson study with several patients, and one of the patients lost her ability to speak. When I would ask questions about how to apply ideas in the lesson to our daily life, she would become very animated and try to talk, but the words made absolutely no sense to me. But her joy and animation captured my heart, and I prayed to understand what she wanted to express. Grace came to my rescue once again. Within my thought, words formed as she spoke. I said, “Do you mean this…” and then I spoke them aloud. To my surprise, she excitedly shook her head yes! We continued on that way for many weeks, Spirit telling me what she wanted to say until she regained her voice and began to speak for herself. The inner message I was hearing and expressed out loud not only helped her to feel loved and included, it helped overcome some of her fears. For me, learning to communicate with patients who could not speak was the beginning of my finding an active divine consciousness within my own thought. More and more I learned (and am still learning) to trust and express these true ideas and understand that this is my true consciousness, identity, and expression. All these lessons are ongoing, and continually unfolding in my practice of Christian Science. God’s love for me is revealed as I learn to express divine Love day to day, in a job that, after 20 some years, is never boring but always filled with lessons of growth and enlightenment.


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