“No, this is no good either.” My coworker and I had just repositioned my patient for the fourth time, and he was still dissatisfied. I brought him a two-page menu from which he could order his dinner and he said, “This is all you have? I don’t want any of this!” When I offered Tylenol for his back pain, I was told “Tylenol does nothing for my pain.” In his room, I did my best to keep a smile on my face, but as I left the room I groaned, felt my eyes roll, and clenched my fists in frustration.
While there are many benefits to being a nurse, the profession can also be physically and emotionally draining. We have all had patients who are difficult to work with, verbally abusive, and thankless. When we are thinking about all the things for which we should give thanks, sometimes our work feels like it should not make the list.
Listen as Luke tells us about nine of Jesus’ ungrateful patients. “Ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’ When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except his foreigner?’” (Luke 17:11-18)
Jesus understands how it feels to receive little thanks. But if we each take a step back, can’t we see how we treat God in a similar way to how my patient treated me? God gives us the means to have comfortable homes, but we say “No, this is no good!” He supplies us with kitchen cupboards bursting with food, but we ask, “This is all there is?” Joints and hearts ache. “God does nothing for my pain!” Being our maker and preserver is a more thankless task than any other!
One man did return to Jesus. Remember what Jesus said? “Your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:19). Jesus says that to you too! Remember who your faith is in? Jesus! Jesus suffered and died to remove the sin of ungratefulness from your life. Jesus makes it possible for us to know that despite earthly trials and frustrations, we have everything we need. Jesus waits for you in your heavenly home.
As I look back on the situation of my ungrateful patient, I again find myself groaning, rolling my eyes, and clenching my fists, but this time, my frustration is focused at me instead of my patient. Matthew 5:16 says “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” In that situation, my coworker, who does not go to church, witnessed my very un-Christian-like behavior. My light was covered up by my ungrateful and sinful heart. In what ways do you let your light shine in your work place? In what ways do you hide your light under sinful actions?
It is worth it for us to take a step back as we start a new year and truly think about all the blessings in our lives. Above all, we give thanks for our faith in our savior Jesus, which gives us the ability to give thanks in trying times.
By Allison Spaude, BAN, RN
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