By Deborah Messmer
In June of this year our previous Director of Christian Science Nursing, Deanna Belyk Proctor, left us to bless her family in Colorado. I was grateful to work side-by-side with her and watch her embrace every individual with sweet love. I would like to thank Deanna not only for her friendship, but for her dedication to Fern Lodge!
Being here and working with this particular group of Christian Scientists has been very healing for me. At Fern Lodge each Christian Science nurse is invited to have their Christian Science practice within the context of a family of individuals who share the same goal — to support each patient’s radical reliance on God for their healthcare needs. And when we work within a family setting we will have many opportunities to practice Christian Science. And when we practice — we heal ourselves and others.
I would like to share with you a few recent healings we have seen:
We had a patient who was unable to walk when she first arrived and really wished she could have stayed at home. Her sweet family was very attentive to her needs and the Christian Science nurses were persistent in helping her to take a few steps at a time. She is now demonstrating the ability to, not only walk to the bathroom, but is walking the full length of the building to go to the dining room. One day after a longer walk than usual, she sat down and cried tears of gratitude and thanked the Christian Science nurses who were helping her.
And, I received a call recently about a church member who was on the floor of his living room. The Christian Science nurse (and the family member supporting him there) were not sure he was conscious. They called for assistance to get him into his recliner and took care of him until morning. Meanwhile, the staff was prayerfully preparing the room to meet his needs. But by morning he was well enough to travel in a wheelchair transport van. We cared for him for about a week and then he returned home. This individual also came with a bandaging need that was just about healed before he left.
Earlier this year, a woman came in to work out the healing of a fractured ankle. Just as we were developing a deep friendship with her, she had her healing and was able to go home. While we may miss the individuals we care for when they go home, we always rejoice in the demonstration of Christian Science healing.
Those were quicker healings, but others seem to need more time. We had a very dear friend and resident who was here for the bandaging of a foot. The foot seemed very tender and we needed to have a solid metaphysical approach to this dear friend. Also needed was a very skilled, gentle approach to the physical care of the foot. For several years we did not see much physical progress. Christian Science nurses don’t look to the body for evidence of our spiritual nature. But as we persistently worked to help this individual to stay the course and not give in to discouragement, physical healing became evident. Right before our eyes the wound began changing. We saw smooth pink skin show up on several areas of the foot. We continued to work through the patient’s discouragement and saw swelling go down. This dear friend left Fern Lodge before we could witness the full healing, but we know that the physical evidence was responding to the healing that had already taken place in thought. Mary Baker Eddy mentions this on page 412 of her book, Science and Health, “Realize the presence of health and the fact of harmonious being, until the body corresponds with the normal conditions of health and harmony.” We all were grateful to see this beautiful proof of God’s care.
You know, Mary Baker Eddy also says in Science and Health, “If we would open their prison doors for the sick, we must first learn to bind up the broken-hearted.” You would think by taking several Christian Science nursing courses and getting mentored on mental impositions that this would qualify you to handle any case; that you had learned how to handle mental confusion, and yes, to some extent that is true. But the mortal mind conjures up new and more difficult cases in an effort to confuse, confound, and frustrate us from helping each other. I am so grateful to our Christian Science nurses for working so diligently this year with regard to our patients dealing with challenges more mental in nature. While we haven’t yet seen the full healings of these fellow church members, we are seeing moments of progress.
The Christian Science nurses have had to dig very deep inside to humble their own hearts. They have had to learn who these individuals were before the claims presented themselves and practice separating the lie from the individual. They’ve had to listen for direction from divine Love as to how to approach each patient’s changing needs. For example, one day a patient may be giving hugs to everyone, and the next day they are yelling and upset. But the staff is dedicated to meeting the needs of each patient, which includes dignity, cleanliness, and nourishment. Often the nourishment needed is love, tenderness, focus, clarity, and peace.
I could talk about healing all day, but instead, I would like to invite you to have your practice at Fern Lodge, either as a Christian Science nurse or as a volunteer.
If you are interested in Christian Science nursing courses, you can call and talk with Sharon Strong, our Director of Christian Science Nurses Training.
We also have regular volunteers that the current pandemic kept them away for several months, but as soon as it was safe to do so, they were grateful to return to being a blessing for the patients.
Some of the volunteer activities currently happening at Fern Lodge are:
- piano playing for our weekly Hymn sing;
- reading to the patients via Zoom and in person;
- a movement class twice a week;
- guitar playing and singing;
- one woman shares piano music every Friday;
- cookie baking with the patients on Wednesdays;
While we are grateful to be visiting a local church via Zoom each week, we are looking for readers to help start our own services again via Zoom or in person.
Also, Robin Barben, our Activities coordinator, would love help with setting up and taking down the decorations of the upcoming holiday events. If you are interested in volunteering please call Fern Lodge and ask for Robin.