A Blessing to be Around

When are you coming to my church, the patient asked the clinic nurse? The nurse laughed, and said: your church is in Tel Aviv, but I live in a convent in East Jerusalem. “I see that you, my friend, are still trying to convert me,” she said, laughing.
We checked his blood pressure, it was terrible, despite him taking two medications. We talked with him a bit and it became clear that he had been out of his medications for two weeks.
“Why didn’t you come in sooner,” asked the nurse? She sent me to find his medications on the shelves.
As I gave them to him, I told him “ You need to take these, every day, without skipping,” I said.
He said that he would. And then he asked me, “do you want to come my church?
I don’t live here, I live in Beer Sheva, I said, copying the nurse’s tactic. And then I added, “and, I’m Jewish.”
“Jewish? The Jews, how do you say it, they always cause balagan for God!”
Before I could begin to figure out how to respond, the nurse said, in the same friendly gentle tone as before, “why do you say these things? You know Jesus was a Jew.”
So I left the explanations to her, as she described to him how she had reached that belief. She finished by saying that for Jesus, the last supper was a seder, so I told her that for many years my family has been joined by our catholic neighbor for the seder, because we like her a lot, but also because as a Christian she connects deeply to the ritual of the seder.
And we sent the patient on his way, with his medication, and with instructions to come back in a week to have his blood pressure measured, and exacted from him a promise that he would take both of his medications every day.
And I sat there watching how she balanced her concern for, and relationship with, the patient, with standing up for me unhesitatingly, and I knew I was in the company of one of those people who are a blessing to be around.


One thought on “A Blessing to be Around

  1. I would like to learn that skill, to stand up for people to a patient while maintaining a caring, respectful relationship with them. I’ve tried, but I don’t think I’ve done it effectively yet.

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