Convocation: Being an instrument in God’s hands

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This is the second of three college convocation addresses given last week.

This moment is a celebration of the culmination of years of study and practice in mastering the Healer’s art.

I would like to acknowledge the wealth of experience and wisdom of our wonderful faculty who have worked tirelessly to instruct and support us over the last few years. I am proud to be associated with you and consider you friends. I would also like to thank the many family and friends who consistently and patiently offered encouragement and support despite, at least in my case, a fair amount of neglect, and without whom we would not be standing here today.

I would also like to recognize my truly remarkable classmates. Over and over I have been inspired by the caliber and capacity of these thirteen extraordinary people. To give you a small glimpse, among us we had a single mom of six kids, another mother with multiple autistic children who have significant health challenges, and several fathers working nearly full-time while going to school to support their families, not to mention those with significant church callings. During the program we celebrated weddings and new babies, and came together during trials such as life-threatening cancer. I don’t have words to express the love and gratitude I have for each of you.

Now as BYU nursing graduates we have the unique challenge and opportunity to dedicate our practice to becoming more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. As the Master Healer, Jesus performed many miracles.1 He restored sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. He healed the lame and they walked. He cleansed the lepers and even raised the dead. No pressure…

Despite this lofty goal, I left BYU with my undergraduate filled with confidence, enthusiasm, and a solid educational foundation. Then I got a job in a cardiac ICU. At the end of my first long night shift alone, I stumbled out to my car, slumped down in the driver’s seat, and broke into tears. I was devastated by my own inadequacy and the realization of the responsibility I had for the health and wellbeing, and even the very lives of my patients. I was overwhelmed and afraid. I wanted to quit.

Instead I turned to prayer. I told Heavenly Father, “I don’t know enough to do this.” His reply, “It’s okay, I do.” My heart was flooded by a warmth of the love Heavenly Father has for His children. I made a conscious decision that morning to base my practice on being an instrument in God’s hands as He seeks to bless my patients and their families.

For the first year of my RN practice, I spent every drive to the hospital in fervent, almost desperate prayer. “Help enlighten my mind to the understanding of complex medical conditions.” “Help me appreciate the needs of my patients.” And most of all, “Help me not to kill anyone.” That may sound extreme, but it was a reality for me.

Through faith, I was blessed to see miracles. Slowly but surely my fear and inexperience was replaced by competence and then confidence. I expect that I, and many of you, will experience a very similar course as we venture into new areas of practice. Don’t give up! You’ve worked too hard and have too much to offer. Remember, God knows all the answers, and He wants to bless both you and those whom you serve.

There will always be a place for faith in the Healer’s art. My most memorable times in nursing were not those filled with a surge of adrenalin and a flurry of activity, but the quiet moments during which the influence of the Spirit was felt. For example, seeing prayer aid a suffering woman to find peaceful sleep, celebrating as priesthood blessings and the prayers of a faithful family brought their beloved wife and mother out of a coma days after doctors had given her no hope of recovery, and crying with a husband as he gave his sweet wife up to God while holding her hand and retelling stories of her lifetime of selfless service.

My faith has been strengthened through these and other miracles of healing, both small and large, physical and spiritual. Through the study and practice of the Healer’s art, my faith and testimony have grown and my life has been enriched.

As we go forward, I’d like to echo President Monson’s challenge “to undertake a personal, diligent, significant quest for what [he called] the abundant life – a life filled with an abundance of success, goodness, and blessings.”2 And I’d like to add, filled with miracles. Through faith, miracles are possible. We have the tools. Now let’s go forth and perform miracles!

By Ann Rogerson—A recent BYU College of Nursing master’s program graduate that spoke during the August college convocation on Friday, August 14.

  1. Luke 7:22
  2. Monson, T. S. (2012). Living the abundant life. 42(1),4-5
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