Today was quite interesting. I had the chance to talk to Ann, an unbelievable woman I met at church a few weeks ago, while taking my mother to the ESL classes that she is having there. Mia* is from Russia and appears to be in her 40's. I've been observing her work and was curious to what brought her to volunteer as a ESL coordinator at a church, but of course I wouldn't be the creeper to just come to her and start asking questions at first. So after talking for awhile today, I saw the opportunity to ask her a few questions, and one of them was about how did she become a Christian, being from a not so Christian country, and with that she shared her story with me.
" It's a pretty long story to tell you, it has three main points, totally separated, but they come together to make sense. First I had a personal loss that made me look for unconditional love. I just wanted to feel that kind of love. Unconditional. Something that could be with me no matter what. I was in search of it but didn't know where to find, neither how to find it, so one day one friend told me "Come to church with me" and I went. That day the priest was talking about unconditional love. That only God could give me that love. And I heard it, I understood it, but I didn't know how to accept it, or how could it be possible. I was just to strong willed or stubborn I guess. But that message stuck with me.
Now I gotta tell you about my father: when I was a little girl my father got really ill, really sick, and he had to go to the hospital, my mother had to work, so my oldest sibling and I took turns to stay with our father in the hospital, but I was only a little girl. So he was in real pain, and he would send me to ask the nurses or doctors for help, but they were really mean to me, to my father, to us. They wouldn't help, or they would not care. It was almost like if they had no heart, or feelings. I would go back to my father and tell they would come soon, an as they wouldn't come, my father would yell at me and as I ran to them they would ignore me or tell me not to bother. I was becoming their punch bag, until the moment of one of the nurses told me to stop running, that my father would die. It hit me. I walked back to my fathers room, crying, and as I got there I lied to my father saying that they would come soon. That night I prayed to heaven, because I didn't really know who God was, but we all believe in heaven, so I prayed. I made a voal to heaven where one day I would become a nurse and I would never threat my patients like that, that I would be nice and patient with them, that I would be good and threat them with respect. And so my dad died.
Long after I became a nurse, and one day I caught myself being impatient. I caught myself being one of them, and it frustrated me. It made me really mad with myself. Mad because I because what I most didn't want to. I was working in a Christian hospital and didn't like the way it was ran, it was very frustrating to see them praying every morning and committing the same sins over and over, and kept thinking that being Christian was hypocrite, why ask for forgiveness if one would sin again, I just wouldn't get it, neither like it. When I realized that I hated my job, I decided to quit, I just want to leave and go home, so I started packing, but I turned on the radio, and started to listen to a song, and a gospel song started to play, as I was packing, I was shouting and yelling "why did I become this?" and some voice started to come out of me, questioning me "when did you become so self righteousness", "what gave you that power to feel that I was better than someone else?", "what makes you better?", and right there, right then I started thinking, I started reflecting over my actions and I asked God, even not fully believing on him yet, "make me better, make me be the person, the nurse I wanted to, put me in your hands and guide me to be a better person", and so I unpacked and begin to think of my actions and my feelings.
After that all came together, I went back to work and started enjoying the prayers done before every shift. I became to appreciate the community and reminded me to be more patient with my patients, became more and more of a follower and believer and my life was starting for the first time being and feeling right. I made myself the nurse I promised to be when a child. I understood through the scriptures that my dad actually died from being angry. He had a partner that made him lose all the money he had and he became angry and that anger made him sick. If he knew God by then he would've learned what forgiveness what and how to let it go and not become so sick. All this stories made me accept God even more. Made me accept my own personal loss. Made me find love, and understand and feel unconditional love."
And she smiled.
All I could say was "wow". I fell quite stupid there for a moment, but her honest and simple choice of words and openness to share all of that with me made my heart so full that I couldn't help but say "thank you" and think of things that I have been through and how are they somehow all related. How certain things happen for a reason and reasons are something we can't comprehend as they are happening but if we give a bit of time they turn out to amaze us.
*name and place changed to preserve privacy.