A Shining Example of Christian Love: My Own Personal Florence Nightingale

Many people in modern America have been taught to look down their noses at Christian conservatives.  I don't go to church, but some of the finest people I've ever known do, including the one described below.

Once a year, my health care insurer sends a nurse to check on its Medicare-age customers.  I signed up for the "NurseCalls" program four years ago and was so impressed with the 38-year-old nurse who came to see me that I request her every year.

During her visit for 2019, I informed her that I had to stop driving because of my vision.  She gave me her home phone number when she left and practically begged me to call her if I needed any help.  A day or two later, I got an email from her offering to take me on errands.  I'm familiar with the general area where she lives, but I didn't know exactly how far her home is from mine.  I thanked her for the offer but told her I was doing okay.  A week later, I got another email saying she still wanted to help me since I can no longer drive.  I thanked her again, telling her I was still doing okay.

When I told a friend about this amazing nurse who kept offering to drive me places, my friend asked if I thought the nurse was hitting on me.  When I finally stopped laughing, I explained that the nurse is a drop-dead gorgeous woman in her early 40s and that I'm old enough to be her grandfather, and look like it.  So, no, I emphatically replied, she's not trying to hit on me.  My friend and I guessed that she's merely an exceptionally kind person offering to help someone who had to stop driving.

A week or two later, the nurse sent another email offering to take me wherever I needed to go.  This time, apparently thinking I lacked imagination, she offered a menu of places she could take me: "the grocery store or a doctor's appointment or Home Depot."  Realizing that I was stiff-arming her desire to help, and that God had assigned an especially tenacious Earth angel to my case, I relented and suggested that since I could no longer take myself out to eat, maybe she and her family could pick me up one weekend for lunch.  When she agreed, I thought I'd better find out how far away they lived.  Twenty-five miles!  Fifty miles, round trip!  I sent an email urging her to reconsider due to the distance, telling her that her family would likely disown her when they found out she'd obligated them to kill the better part of a perfectly good Sunday afternoon going out to lunch with an elderly stranger.

With me obviously not understanding why she, or anyone, would make such a selfless offer, I think she was frustrated with my email.  Below is her reply, and if there's a greater example of Christian love, I've not seen it.  Since I'm sure she would not want to be publicly identified, I'll refer to her here simply as "Florence," as in my own personal Florence Nightingale.

4/22/2019 10:58 PM

Mr. Eidson,

I try to live my Christian life by showing people love.  I feel that I've been blessed with my job and I have multiple opportunities every day to show love when I'm out doing visits.  I'm not trying to brag or sound holier than thou.  I'm certainly not perfect.  They are many days that I'm tired and I just want to stay home instead going out to see people.  But I will say with 100% certainty that when I am in someone's home, I treat them the way I would want to be treated.  I would be miserable with overwhelming guilt if I didn't. 

In August, I will have worked as a HouseCalls practitioner for 7 years.  When I first started my job, I visited a 94 year old frail lady who lived in a trailer.  She was all of 4'10" and weighed 90 lbs and I loved her to pieces.  She was adorable and tiny and feisty, and just as cute as a button.  She lived in poverty and I thought about her a lot.  After I visited her the second time, I knew I needed to do more.  I took her Christmas gifts two years in a row and some cases of Ensure here and there.  And then one day her phone was disconnected.  I checked the obituaries and she wasn't in there.  I think her daughter forced her to move in with her.  She had mentioned several times that her daughter wanted her to move in with her but that she didn't want to leave her home.  Her daughter lives in Florida.  She had some falls and broken her hip and of course, her daughter was worried about her. 

So then I asked God, "Who do you want me to help now?"  I started visiting another lady in a trailer park.  But she was in her late 50s and was wheelchair-bound.  She had already had two strokes and could no longer walk and had a lot of difficulty speaking.  After seeing her two years in a row, I knew that I wanted to do more for her.  A few months passed after her visit and I wanted to go see her but I couldn't remember her address.  Once we see somebody and our schedule changes to the next month, we can no longer see the info on that person until they are on our schedule again for the next year.  So anyway, I google searched her and her name came up.  But unfortunately, it was her obituary.  I was absolutely heartbroken.  I'm assuming that she had another stroke. 

So then I said "Ok God, who can I help now?"

I know that you are not to the level of a 94 year old frail individual or a wheelchair bound person, but I know there are times you need help.  I've always helped people and I will always be looking out for those who need help.  This is what God wants me to do.  If I was a millionaire, that's what I would do full-time.  I also encourage my children to do the same.  They have volunteered many times with me and would help me take Christmas gifts to Ms. J. 

If we are not showing someone love or helping each other, then what are we doing with our lives?  Yes, I've done several House Calls visits for you, but I've never done much during those visits.  I take your blood pressure, listen to your heart and lungs, and encourage you to get a flu shot every year.  Whoopee!  I should get a nurse of the year award!  You're very intelligent and have good doctors and you know what's going on with your health.  Sometimes I really do help people a lot during their visit but you've never really needed much from me in that way. 

So yes, my family knows where you live.  They are completely fine with it.  My girls are used to us going places and helping other people.  If it was a problem, I would have never offered.  But now you know, I literally pray for God to show me who needs a little help now and then. 

(Signed)

I got choked up reading Florence's email.  When she and her family picked me up the next week, I could see that her husband and daughters were as happy as she was to enable a shut-in to go out to lunch.  What a kind family.

The movie Hacksaw Ridge tells the story of Medal of Honor recipient Desmond Doss, whose Christian faith prevented him from killing other people, even in war.  Initially seen by his platoon as a coward because he refused to carry a rifle, Doss later demonstrated heroism above and beyond the call of duty as an Army medic during the ferocious battle for Hacksaw Ridge.  After saving a wounded U.S. soldier from certain execution by Japanese troops, and finding himself stranded atop Hacksaw Ridge, Doss looked skyward and asked for instructions.  God told him to save one more soldier, and then another, and another, and another.  In following God's directions, and with his own life in mortal peril each time, Pvt. Desmond Doss saved 75 fellow soldiers before being put out of action by a serious wound.

Unrelenting service to others.  Desmond Doss did that, and so does my own personal Florence Nightingale.  By any definition, Florence is an Earth angel.  I haven't needed her help so far, but I am comforted to know that she's on call as my transportation ace in the hole.  What a shame that Christian conservatives like her are looked down on because of their political beliefs.

Update: After I made the mistake of telling Florence a few days ago that the supermarket I go to was sold out of bottled water due to coronavirus panic-buying, guess who showed up at my front door with enough bottled water to fill a bathtub.

Many people in modern America have been taught to look down their noses at Christian conservatives.  I don't go to church, but some of the finest people I've ever known do, including the one described below.

Once a year, my health care insurer sends a nurse to check on its Medicare-age customers.  I signed up for the "NurseCalls" program four years ago and was so impressed with the 38-year-old nurse who came to see me that I request her every year.

During her visit for 2019, I informed her that I had to stop driving because of my vision.  She gave me her home phone number when she left and practically begged me to call her if I needed any help.  A day or two later, I got an email from her offering to take me on errands.  I'm familiar with the general area where she lives, but I didn't know exactly how far her home is from mine.  I thanked her for the offer but told her I was doing okay.  A week later, I got another email saying she still wanted to help me since I can no longer drive.  I thanked her again, telling her I was still doing okay.

When I told a friend about this amazing nurse who kept offering to drive me places, my friend asked if I thought the nurse was hitting on me.  When I finally stopped laughing, I explained that the nurse is a drop-dead gorgeous woman in her early 40s and that I'm old enough to be her grandfather, and look like it.  So, no, I emphatically replied, she's not trying to hit on me.  My friend and I guessed that she's merely an exceptionally kind person offering to help someone who had to stop driving.

A week or two later, the nurse sent another email offering to take me wherever I needed to go.  This time, apparently thinking I lacked imagination, she offered a menu of places she could take me: "the grocery store or a doctor's appointment or Home Depot."  Realizing that I was stiff-arming her desire to help, and that God had assigned an especially tenacious Earth angel to my case, I relented and suggested that since I could no longer take myself out to eat, maybe she and her family could pick me up one weekend for lunch.  When she agreed, I thought I'd better find out how far away they lived.  Twenty-five miles!  Fifty miles, round trip!  I sent an email urging her to reconsider due to the distance, telling her that her family would likely disown her when they found out she'd obligated them to kill the better part of a perfectly good Sunday afternoon going out to lunch with an elderly stranger.

With me obviously not understanding why she, or anyone, would make such a selfless offer, I think she was frustrated with my email.  Below is her reply, and if there's a greater example of Christian love, I've not seen it.  Since I'm sure she would not want to be publicly identified, I'll refer to her here simply as "Florence," as in my own personal Florence Nightingale.

4/22/2019 10:58 PM

Mr. Eidson,

I try to live my Christian life by showing people love.  I feel that I've been blessed with my job and I have multiple opportunities every day to show love when I'm out doing visits.  I'm not trying to brag or sound holier than thou.  I'm certainly not perfect.  They are many days that I'm tired and I just want to stay home instead going out to see people.  But I will say with 100% certainty that when I am in someone's home, I treat them the way I would want to be treated.  I would be miserable with overwhelming guilt if I didn't. 

In August, I will have worked as a HouseCalls practitioner for 7 years.  When I first started my job, I visited a 94 year old frail lady who lived in a trailer.  She was all of 4'10" and weighed 90 lbs and I loved her to pieces.  She was adorable and tiny and feisty, and just as cute as a button.  She lived in poverty and I thought about her a lot.  After I visited her the second time, I knew I needed to do more.  I took her Christmas gifts two years in a row and some cases of Ensure here and there.  And then one day her phone was disconnected.  I checked the obituaries and she wasn't in there.  I think her daughter forced her to move in with her.  She had mentioned several times that her daughter wanted her to move in with her but that she didn't want to leave her home.  Her daughter lives in Florida.  She had some falls and broken her hip and of course, her daughter was worried about her. 

So then I asked God, "Who do you want me to help now?"  I started visiting another lady in a trailer park.  But she was in her late 50s and was wheelchair-bound.  She had already had two strokes and could no longer walk and had a lot of difficulty speaking.  After seeing her two years in a row, I knew that I wanted to do more for her.  A few months passed after her visit and I wanted to go see her but I couldn't remember her address.  Once we see somebody and our schedule changes to the next month, we can no longer see the info on that person until they are on our schedule again for the next year.  So anyway, I google searched her and her name came up.  But unfortunately, it was her obituary.  I was absolutely heartbroken.  I'm assuming that she had another stroke. 

So then I said "Ok God, who can I help now?"

I know that you are not to the level of a 94 year old frail individual or a wheelchair bound person, but I know there are times you need help.  I've always helped people and I will always be looking out for those who need help.  This is what God wants me to do.  If I was a millionaire, that's what I would do full-time.  I also encourage my children to do the same.  They have volunteered many times with me and would help me take Christmas gifts to Ms. J. 

If we are not showing someone love or helping each other, then what are we doing with our lives?  Yes, I've done several House Calls visits for you, but I've never done much during those visits.  I take your blood pressure, listen to your heart and lungs, and encourage you to get a flu shot every year.  Whoopee!  I should get a nurse of the year award!  You're very intelligent and have good doctors and you know what's going on with your health.  Sometimes I really do help people a lot during their visit but you've never really needed much from me in that way. 

So yes, my family knows where you live.  They are completely fine with it.  My girls are used to us going places and helping other people.  If it was a problem, I would have never offered.  But now you know, I literally pray for God to show me who needs a little help now and then. 

(Signed)

I got choked up reading Florence's email.  When she and her family picked me up the next week, I could see that her husband and daughters were as happy as she was to enable a shut-in to go out to lunch.  What a kind family.

The movie Hacksaw Ridge tells the story of Medal of Honor recipient Desmond Doss, whose Christian faith prevented him from killing other people, even in war.  Initially seen by his platoon as a coward because he refused to carry a rifle, Doss later demonstrated heroism above and beyond the call of duty as an Army medic during the ferocious battle for Hacksaw Ridge.  After saving a wounded U.S. soldier from certain execution by Japanese troops, and finding himself stranded atop Hacksaw Ridge, Doss looked skyward and asked for instructions.  God told him to save one more soldier, and then another, and another, and another.  In following God's directions, and with his own life in mortal peril each time, Pvt. Desmond Doss saved 75 fellow soldiers before being put out of action by a serious wound.

Unrelenting service to others.  Desmond Doss did that, and so does my own personal Florence Nightingale.  By any definition, Florence is an Earth angel.  I haven't needed her help so far, but I am comforted to know that she's on call as my transportation ace in the hole.  What a shame that Christian conservatives like her are looked down on because of their political beliefs.

Update: After I made the mistake of telling Florence a few days ago that the supermarket I go to was sold out of bottled water due to coronavirus panic-buying, guess who showed up at my front door with enough bottled water to fill a bathtub.