The Daily "ECHO"

The Daily Echo: Inspiring Short: Learning The Healer’s Art with Elaine S. Marshall. October 31, 2021

October 31, 2021
This is an excerpt given on October 8, 2002 from BYU College of Nursing professor Elaine S. Marshall’s devotional, “Learning the Healer’s Art.” Read full text here:… Learn about Elaine S. Marshall here:… Subscribe to BYU Speeches for the latest videos:… Read and listen to more BYU Speeches here: Follow BYU Speeches: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Pinterest: © Brigham Young University. All rights reserved. “I could hardly sleep the night before my first day as a nurse. I remember it so vividly. The spring air was cool, and the sun seemed unusually bright. Two conflicting feelings left my heart pounding. First, I felt courage and couldn’t wait to put that first tube into the first orifice. On the other hand, I was afraid that by sheer inexperience I would violate the promise to “do no harm.” As a student nurse I did not have the blessing of the computer-simulated patient that our students now have. Today BYU College of Nursing students can program a mannequin they call Sam to have any illness or injury. He responds to their treatments and drugs. Student nurses have actually killed him a few times! Consequently, they also learn how to resuscitate him as well as any doctor on TV can. That first day I carefully pulled on my support hose, little white nylon dress, and ugly prescription shoes. My crowning glory was the starched white cap that held my long hair tucked tightly beneath. I couldn’t wait to handle the instruments, titrate the fluids, and perform the treatment procedures. I wanted to cure. I wanted to care. I wanted to heal. I have learned a lot about healing since that day. I have learned that healing is a process of restoring and becoming whole. This morning I would like to share six lessons I have learned about the healer’s art. First, healing hurts. When I was a young nurse in the hospital, hardly a day went by that a patient did not ask, “Will it hurt?” If I had been truthful, the whispered answer would nearly always have been, “Yes, it will hurt.” I have learned that healing hurts. Life hurts. Healing really only begins when we face the hurt in its full force and then grow through it with all the strength of our soul. For every reward of learning and growing, some degree of pain is always the price. Author M. Scott Peck reminds us that if you do not want love or pain, you “must do without many things” (M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled [New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978]: 133). I think you would do without dating, graduating, getting married, or having children. Sometime in your life you will know a crashing crisis or heavy heartache that will threaten all sense of logic or hope or certainty—from which, no matter how you emerge, nothing will ever be the same. Hurts come as unique losses, unwelcome surprises, fading hope, or grief. This semester you may not get the 4.0 grade point average you need to keep your scholarship, or you may not get your first choice in graduate school or career. Perhaps that special person did not have the same “revelation” you think you had. Maybe this is the best you will ever look. Maybe someone you counted on wasn’t there for you. Perhaps someone in your past hurt you deeply. I know that pain. Also, I live a little of every day waiting for heaven to see my son and mother again. Last semester two of our nursing students lost their fathers. I imagine that no success in school or career or life will be quite the same for them. Some of us suffer the wrenching consequences of sin or just poor judgment. Some of you may now be entangled in activities with others—or perhaps on the Internet—that you wish you had never started. Or you may have fallen into a trap of debt. We hurt when we see our own failures or helplessly watch the unwise decisions of others. Our lives are changed forever not only by the pain but by facing our need to heal. Sometimes we simply have too many demands or feel like we just don’t measure up. Daily life’s hundreds of additive stresses can drain hope and energy, drop by drop, toward spiritual depletion—leaving a need to heal. Pain is part of living. Pain brings us to the source of healing.” — Elaine S. Marshall

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