Here for a Reason

This moment is designed by God

By Zoey Dering, RN
St. Anthony Hospital

As a single parent, I became a registered nurse to support my three boys. Although I had compassion to give, paying the bills was my No. 1 priority. I believe the science of nursing laid the foundation for a profitable career.

One night, I was asked to help in oncology awhile instead of working in the intensive care unit. Reluctantly, I agreed.

My first two patients were managing fine, but the third shocked me. He was 35 years old, wearing an oxygen mask and struggling to breathe. His fianc told me he had terminal cancer. She had her Bible out.

I bent toward the patient to begin my scientific nursing assessment when I noticed a medal on a silver chain lying close to his heart. I touched the medal. Having been raised a Catholic, I recognized it as the "Miraculous Medal" worn by those devoted to praying the rosary. His fianc said, "I forgot to bring his rosary from home and now it's too late. I don't think he has much time."

She was right. The patient was in a semi-conscious state. I fumbled in my pockets to find a pen to write down his vital signs when my fingers felt a familiar object. I grasped the beads on a cotton string, which as attached to a plastic cross. The rosary had been given to me by a patient when I had been a nurse for only a few weeks. Since then, I had kept it in my pocket to help protect me against making a medication error.

I pulled the rosary out of my pocket and was embarrassed to see how dirty and worn it was. I offered it to the man's fianc while apologizing for its appearance. "Don't be embarrassed," she said, as tears rolled down her face. She placed the rosary in his folded hands. I heard her trembling voice begin, "I believe in God, the Father Almighty"

My time in oncology was up and I returned to my main assignment in the intensive care unit. Two days later, the nursing supervisor came to me with a white envelope that had been delivered by a patient's family. I opened it to find my rosary, which had been cleaned to perfection, along with a note. It said, "Thank you so much. John passed on peacefully shortly after praying the rosary. You were there for a reason."

From that day, I have embraced the belief that each of us is here for a reason. This moment, this time, this place, are designed by God to shower grace upon others through our devoted service.

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