We are all familiar with beginnings. They can be small steps but its impact can be experienced in giant leaps. Today students of this Institution of Nursing are making a new beginning through the lighting of candles. It is a symbolic act of the light that shines within your hearts.
First of all the light that shines is a reminder of the darkness outside.
We live in a world where human rights are being violated.
We live in a world where the elderly are being forgotten.
We live in a world where children make friends through social media rather than face to face.
It is in this context that we need to understand our role in the nursing profession. We need to have a big picture of the suffering of people. It is not just physical illness that trouble people. More often it is the loneliness and the feeling of being deserted by friends and family that hurts people more.
So first of all we need to realize that there is darkness out there and we are called to shine our little lights in this darkness.
Secondly, the light that shines speaks about hope.
We are called to do little acts of kindness which kindle hope in the heart of a patient.
It can be a smile.
It can be a kind word of encouragement.
It can be a timely help.
Or it can even be a pat on the shoulder or holding hands for a moment.
Yes, God has chosen you to be angels of encouragement.
Dag Hammarskjold the former UN Secretary General said,
“Constant attention by a good nurse may be just
as important as a major operation by a surgeon!”
So my dear students, today you are stepping into a new role. You are going to carry with you a ray of hope with you wherever you go even when life gets too busy and personal difficulties crowd out your day.
Finally, the light that shines is about burning out for others.
There is without doubt a selflessness in the profession of nursing. We are called to put others first. “As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul and body of our patients, their families and ourselves. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” In those words of the famous author Maya Angelou we have a guideline for your life’s work.
Today, we are lighting the lamp. In doing so, we also remember Florence Nightingale, The Lady with the Lamp, who gave nursing such a highly favourable reputation.
Let me sum up.
The light that shines talks about three things.
One, it is a reminder of the darkness outside.
Two, it speaks about hope.
Thirdly and finally, the light that shines is about burning out for others.
My dear students I take this opportunity to wish you the very best in your academics and in your nursing career. Let the beginning that you make today always inspire you to cherish and uphold the values and traditions of the nursing profession.
Remember what Jesus Christ said,
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
As far as you are concerned the light that shines is not about the pay cheque you take home; it is more about the countless number of lives of individuals and families you touch every day. It is about hope and cheer, of comfort and strength; a restoring of health and wholeness. May God give you wisdom and strength and the resolve to be such angels. May people find heaven very near in you!
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