Authors

  1. Hinton, Sharon T.

Article Content

Insights

Have you noticed that in classic American Westerns, the hero steps into a situation when needed, takes care of the problem no matter how challenging or unpleasant, and then rides off into the sunset? I grew up watching television Westerns and reading authors like Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour. Eventually, I moved to Texas and met real cowboys, working on real cattle ranches. The real ones don't wear six guns and chase outlaws, but they do have pistols for taking care of rattlesnakes and other predators that threaten livestock. They get up early, rain or shine, to care for God's creatures, who sometimes are not cooperative or appreciative. Cowboys work through countless challenges on shoestring budgets and fewer supplies than needed. Cowboys work through unpleasant situations, not of their own making, and care for angry, frightened, and sometimes aggressive cattle with the same dedication and love they have for more lovable creatures. Family is important but sometimes simmers on the back burner when a fence is down, or a cow goes into labor, moments before a special family event. Cowboys are underappreciated, though most dedicate their lives to the job. If asked why they do such a thankless job, they reply, "I love it!" "It's my calling." "If I didn't do this job, it wouldn't get done." There is no glory, the wages are low, the work is hard, and appreciation is rare-and yet they still choose cowboy life.

  
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My admiration for cowboys aligns with the faith community nurses I've had the honor of knowing, working with, and serving the past 25 years. You get up every morning, rain or shine, to care for God's human creatures, who sometimes are not cooperative or appreciative. Daily, you face new challenges with grace and dignity as professional caregivers. You have shoestring budgets and never enough time, equipment, supplies, assistance, or support, and yet, you get the job done. Lives are saved, health is improved, and people are healed in body, mind, and spirit. Sometimes, your family plays second fiddle to hospital calls and home visits. You advocate for the voiceless. If I asked you why you work as a Faith Community Nurse (FCN), you would say that "nursing is a calling" or that "God created me to be a FCN," or that you do what you do because "someone needs to stand in the gap between healthcare and communities of faith, and if I didn't do it, who would?" You have chosen to do a hard, low or no paying, often thankless job as a servant to those in need.

 

You, my FCN colleague, are also my hero! I am honored to work alongside you. I choose to listen to your successes and challenges, to search for or create resources to make your job a bit easier, and to provide opportunities for education, networking, and fellowship. Why? Because my ministry calling is to be an FCN for FCNs: to serve you so that you can serve others, and to remind you that you are doing a job that not many can do. So, remember, hero, God chose you! You are important. Thank you!

 

Discussion Forum

Share your thoughts by email: mailto:sharon@sharonthinton.com

  
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Announcements

The Health Ministries Association 2017 Annual Meeting and Conference will be held in Erlanger, Kentucky, September 11-13, 2017. See http://www.HMAssoc.org for details.

 

Source of Strength

"When sometimes we feel that life is hard-that more is required of us than we want to give-when we wish the cowboy had selected some other horse...The cowboy is choosing a horse upon which to put a bridle and a saddle for service. We are reminded that man's real strength never comes from his own desires: strength comes from a higher allegiance. It comes from being-as some poet has said, 'harnessed to the unseen.'" (Allen, 1981, pp. 93-94)

 

Allen, C. (1981). Kenneth Wyatt's Western art interpreted by Charles L. Allen. Tulia, TX: Y-8 Publishing.

 

Resource Toolbox

 

* Allen, C. (1981). Kenneth Wyatt's Western art interpreted by Charles L. Allen. Tulia, TX: Y-8 Publishing.

 

* Terry, J. (2001). A cowboy's faith: Stories of our common ground. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers.