Being a nurse is one of the greatest privileges and responsibilities I have ever known. As a nurse I end up in some of people’s most vulnerable and sometimes weakest moments. I get to “know” them in a way others won’t ever understand. Because of this I also get the opportunity to love them right where they are.
My idea of love as a nurse has been challenged so much since I have come to Africa. My first instinct is to want to fix everything. I want to solve the problem however small or big. I want to be the hero. I am reminded time and time again that my idea of loving is so limited to what Jesus can actually do. For instance, every time I walk in the preschool or around the kids they all shout “Nurse Sarah You See” as they show me small cuts or scrapes on one appendage or another. To be honest, at first this really overwhelmed me, because I felt the need and responsibility to fix it all for them. I equated love to having to bandage their very small wounds. I have come to love these moments though, because I have realized that these kids, like all of us are just asking, “Do you See Me?” I love getting to bend over, look at their healing scrape, tell them I am sorry and that I love them. I love getting to hug them and, in a way, say back to them, “Yes, I see you, you are so loved, and so important.”
I so believe that Jesus does this for all of us as we walk through life with what may be a “big bleeding wound” or “small scrape.” As we look up at him and say, “Do you see?” He leans over and says, “Yes, I see you. I know you and I love you so much.”
One of my favorite quotes is by Tim Keller it says, “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
Here at the James Place the woman and children are learning about a God that fully knows them, sees them, and loves them. It is a family that sees one another in vulnerable places in life and loves each other abundantly. It is a place where life may be difficult at times but we get through it together.
- Sarah Aschfort, Long Term Volunteer Nursing Intern