A Lesson In Miracles

I posted this on social media:

[What miracle are you expecting this week?]
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When you expect miracles, you are no longer surprised when good things happen to you, you no longer find yourself saying things like "I never win anything" or "I'm not lucky".
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Expect the best for yourself because you deserve the best and stop settling for anything short of miraculous.

Looking back, I can’t even believe I said this thing about miracles!

And I’m going to tell you why.

As an ICU nurse I was trained to not give people false hope because I didn’t want to be responsible for disappointing anyone. I remember the first time I knew my patient wasn’t going to survive his injury and I asked a more senior nurse if it was okay to cry with the family. Was it unprofessional to be upset? Was I supposed to keep it all together and be strong? Did crying make me weak?

I was so confused.

I got used to saying things like:
•“it’s not a marathon, it’s a sprint”
•“let’s take it one day at a time”
•“think of this as baby steps”
•“sometimes it’s 2 steps forward and 3 steps back”.

And still I had some families who insisted that there was going to be a miracle and everything was going to be okay. It broke my heart when I knew things wouldn’t be okay and they were still hoping for a miracle.

I get it now.

Hoping for a miracle doesn’t have to mean you’re in denial. It doesn’t have to mean you aren’t facing reality. Sometimes it does because denial is a stage in the grieving process...but sometimes hoping for a miracle is a sign that you’re open to receiving something wonderful in your life. And in the hospital, maybe that wonderful thing wasn’t always me being able to save someone’s life; but maybe it was about:
•giving people a chance to spend one last night with their son who has cancer
•helping them take their NICU baby out into the park who had never been outside before so she could feel the sunlight on her face
•reminding people that while the last words they said to someone may have been out of anger, that doesn’t replace all of the times they said “I love you”
•helping a wife focus on how she can help by shedding some light on what life will be like later when she finds out her husband will never walk again so she can find the strength to go home and make their house wheelchair accessible
•taping some popsicle sticks to a plastic fork to make a back scratcher (I actually got a thank you card in the mail after this one ;))
•finding someone’s parents on Facebook to tell them to call the hospital and then having to share that their son had been hit by a car because he hadn’t given anyone his emergency contact information should something happen to him

I’m really glad I learned to hope for miracles again and I encouraged everyone to look for miracles in my post yesterday because I’ve learned that we usually find the things we are looking for (and sometimes in the most unexpected places).

Phew! That lesson *only* took 9 years of Nursing for me to learn!