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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, February 13 2020

Lessons from the psych ward

One of the wonderful truths revealed in the pages of your Bible is that God will remember and restore everyone’s personality and character when they are resurrected.

I was a Nursing Assistant trainee at a psychiatric hospital doing a two-week “prac”. The work was not hard, but it tested our attitudes. In spite of this, it turned out to be a very rewarding experience. The clients were memorable and I learned valuable lessons from them.

For example, Max was injured in a devastating accident just before his wedding day. He loved listening to old rock’n’roll songs, especially Elvis. Sometimes he’d cry as the song stirred memories of times past, although he was unable to specify the exact occasions because of his illness. Feeding Mary was not a popular task. She was old, tiny and frozen by arthritis into a fetal position. She would chew on the spoon when the staff tried to feed her so much that her teeth were worn down. I found that when I held her hand under the blanket and talked softly to her, often using her name, she was easier to feed. And Gina was a very lonely Italian lady who spent a lot of time, especially at night, walking down all the corridors, looking for her husband who was also there, but neither of them recognised each other anymore.

Through interactions with these patients and others I learned I needed to figure out where people were coming from and to communicate in ways they understood best. I also realised common sense with compassion works better than compassion alone, and that we can use our life experiences to understand and help others.

When there is brain damage, other people must put forth extra effort to “see” the real person inside, but what really counts is that God sees them and remembers them perfectly. It is extremely comforting to know that He will totally restore everyone’s personality and character at the resurrection, when our great Creator and Healer, will resurrect everyone whole!

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