Enlarging Spiritual Consciousness Through Nursing — Robin Barben

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I have loved working at Fern Lodge for the past 22 years. Excellent nurses training was given by Sharon Strong, Director of Christian Science Nurse Training. Through these nursing classes and my CS nursing practice, a strong platform was built, where the truths learned in Christian Science could come to life. The spiritual ideas shared have become a cherished part of my own spiritual consciousness.

The art of Nursing has become more universal to me as I have learned, over the years, to share the comfort of the Christ. We can nurse our world in many ways. For example, I nursed the downtrodden thought of a prisoner serving a life sentence without parole. He gained the comfort of knowing his real identity and his life sentence was overturned. I also was able to nurse the thought of a homeless man who read the Bible so many times but felt he was missing something. I tenderly gave examples about the spiritual aspect of the Bible stories. Later that week, he showed me his scratched cornea. I asked if we could pray together. We did. A few days later he pushed his shopping cart all the way to Fern Lodge. His eye had healed and he wanted to know more. He accepted some homemade cookies and milk and a Science and Health, which he held to his chest like he would never part with it.

What is especially dear to me is the metaphysics of giving care and comfort that Sharon so lovingly taught. I learned to see what God is expressing spiritually right where a human concept seemed to be — releasing the finite sense for the spiritual idea and acknowledging the very presence of the One expressing that true idea. For instance, placing a blanket over a patient represents warmth and comfort, but it also reminds me that the Comforter is actually right here, right now. The reality of God’s Love and comfort is present and felt, embracing both the patient and myself.

I applied this to an experience when my dad, who is not a Christian Scientist, was in the hospital and the doctors predicted a 5% chance of recovery from an operation. As I sat with him, I suddenly looked at the light switch and thought about the light of God’s love shining on us exactly as we both needed it. I prayed until I fully felt God’s presence of comfort and love. I went through every object in that room and prayed to see each thing (bed, cords, machines, nurses) pointing to some spiritual idea and then feeling a present sense of God’s loving care that was perfect for both of us. I finally saw that everything was reflecting God’s love in a way my dad could understand. A sense of God’s very presence replaced my fear. Instead of those being his last days, we had nine more months together.

From the beginning, Fern Lodge revealed to me that the true consciousness of Life is Love and needs to be lived. Sharon and George Strong have been such wonderful mentors and examples, showing God’s Love to me and staff members in countless practical ways. By God’s grace, I am gaining strength and courage to turn more fully to divine Love to handle and reverse the mortal ambiguities that I find everyday in my own thought. You’d think 22 years is enough time to become proficient, but I remind myself that God’s Love is infinite and ever unfolding. I will always be learning, and I have a whole world of material objects and concepts to understand spiritually.

I have had moments when one pure moment of divine consciousness healed. One day, just as a patient was passing on, I walked into her room. The spiritualization of thought, leading to the consciousness of God’s presence, was instantaneous. The woman woke up from her belief in death and she began to eat, talk, and walk again. I love working daily to experience moments like that.

Robin serves as our Activity Director and also as a staff Christian Science nurse.

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