Aunt Baby and Alvin Wesley

Aunt Baby and Alvin Wesley
Reasons I Smile...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rise Above It

Breathe - Does it Really Matter in the Scheme of Things?

I wasn't quite prepared for the hospital environment I entered as a brand new graduate nurse.  I was only 21 years old, not at all ready for the psychiatric diagnoses and the staff personalities I was about to encounter.  It was fairly easy to get me to blush furiously or burst into tears, sometimes within the space of  five minutes. 

A terror of a nurse, named Jeanette, took me "under her claw".  I grew to both fear and respect her simultaneously. One of her first lessons to me, no matter what the circumstance, was to rise above it!  In my early years, I remembered this mantra as I learned and gained confidence in dealing with all types of staff and patient behaviors.

Through the years, as I was promoted into educational and managerial positions, Jeanette, who always remained an excellent Charge Nurse, would respectfully remind me to rise above it, when she was in a Union capacity or at a Committee meeting.  Many of us sadly attended her funeral in the mid-90s, shortly after her retirement on medical disability. She had left a large void at the hospital. This nurse was all grumpy on the outside but ever so soft on the inside.  She taught so many of us from her heart.

Little did Jeanette know that her words would be my mantra during the darkest 46 hours of my life, when a colleague and I were held at gunpoint by man who could not be reasoned with. I knew that I could not speak or I would be shot again.  He was way too volatile. The only choice I had was to keep telling myself to rise above it. 

I thought it when I was angry. I thought it when I was frightened. I thought it when I was outraged. I thought it when I wanted to say something and knew I could not. I thought it when I felt like crying. I thought it when I felt like screaming and cursing.  And I thought about other strong women in heaven like my mother - in - law, Arlene, Lillie and Clem and how they would all be helping me rise above it. 

Our thoughts are more powerful than we realize.  Only we have control over them.  I know there were other variables at play that resulted in my ultimate survival in 1999. However, I stand firm that positive thinking throughout the ordeal helped me keep my inner strength and resolve to survive remarkable odds.

As such, I haven't given up on Jeanette's mantra.  I really don't care if it is the speedy roadster that cut me off on the way to work or the gentleman at the Mall who slams the door in my face as he is rushing to enter.  It is probably best to rise above it.  If I thought awhile about it, the offending party probably has something very heavy on their mind or could just be rude. It certainly, however, isn't worth ruining any part of my day because of it.  I can hear my wise Mom saying "just chalk it up to experience."       

Come to think of it, Mom and Jeanette were "cut from the same cloth".  Even today, I can feel these wise women helping me, as they taught the truest of life's lessons. Most of the things in life that really offend us are so minor in the grand scheme of things.  Isn't it better to think about how much effort you want to put into reacting to these petty grievances? 

"When I am all hassled about something, I always stop and ask myself what difference it will make in the evolution of the human species in the next ten million years, and that question always helps me to get back my perspective." (Anne Wilson Schaef)


  1. I agree on the" claw" she helped a lot of us there. She always told you like it is. You knew you would get an honest reply from her. Thanks for the reminder. Kathy

  2. Hi Kathy~~ Thank you for being my very first comment... we need people like this in our lives and you are one to me as well. mcj