Friday, February 14, 2014

A Valentine's Day Twist

The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change."-- Carl Rogers,American psychologist

Many Baby Boomers consider themselves educated. A good thing—we’re in a season of life that requires learning and change. Fighting this exhausts us, so we may as well comply.

But complying is easier said than done—after all, we’ve been trained to remain the same.

How so? Often, the underlying core values we hold dear defy change—don’t rock the boat, keep a stiff upper lip, God helps those who help themselves . . . need I say more?

But I have a boomer friend whose vision encapsulates change and growth—and on this Valentine’s Day, I must add true love.

Her nursing career expanded into Parish Nursing, which melds professional and spiritual care. (Often a hospital and a church share the costs involved.)  A born teacher, she instructed parish nursing classes for seventeen years, and in retirement, has taken on even more taxing ventures.

At seventy-two, she reached out to Pakistani nurses in Pakistan. In 2012, she established a core Parish Nursing community. Now, picture yourself entering an unstable Middle-East society—flying there, making contacts, and creating a foundation for ongoing instruction and care.

What does this have to do with Valentine’s Day? Well, I think St. Valentine would approve—my friend’s effort is all about committed, sacrificial love that reaches out to meet both physical and spiritual needs, especially in impoverished areas.

What has my friend overcome in order to launch this exciting, dangerous project? A lot—her childhood upbringing did not qualify her to attempt such a feat, nor did her years as a victim/enabler married to an alcoholic.

But anyone who bears/rears six children possesses stamina—and that monumental work prepared her for further exploits later in life—as did finding her voice and starting a new life on her own. Al-Anon instructed her, along with her faith’s foundational tenets—but she faced vast changes.

She made them. Succeeded in her career, and initiated compassionate outreach to those on the outskirts of love. The Outskirts of Love—a great book title, eh?

This remarkable woman also has encouraged me in finding my own voice and following my writing passion. Read more about that at my website.

Happy Valentine’s Day—may yours be filled with what St. Valentine would have intended—far more than just flowers and chocolates!

After teaching English as a Second Language and expository writing, Gail Kittleson enjoys her family (married 35 years, two children and two delightful grandchildren) and writing. Her nonfiction (Catching Up With Daylight/WhiteFire Publishing, August 2013) and fiction (World War II era) share a consistent theme—empowerment. Find her book at Amazon and B&N


Claude Nougat said...

Love your post! It's more than about empowerment though, it's about selfless love which is SO rare! ut it does exist, thank you for reminding us!

Particularly today, on St Valentine's. It seems especially apt since this is the day devoted to lovers - and I've often wondered how selfless the love between two young people really was. Selfless love is what this nurse showed when she worked in Pakistan in a totally foreign (and sometimes threatening and dangerous) environment.

What that takes is good old-fashioned...guts!

Davalyn Spencer said...

A great reminder that love costs more than $2.99.

June Foster said...

Gail, thanks for sharing this story of victory and overcoming a tough situation. Happy Valentine's Day to you and your family.

Gail Kittleson said...

Hi Claude,

Don't know if my other comment surfaced, but thanks for your thoughts. You're right - this is about old-fashioned love and guts!

I'm going to see if the heroine of this story can make some comments - I wish everybody could know her!


Sherry said...

Thanks for this post. It certainly shows how superficial my "sacrificial" love is. As we tend to do I can give the lame excuse that "God hasn't called me to do that."