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While reading the "Working Toward Shalom" chapter in Called to Care: A Christian Theology of Nursing by Judith Allen Shelly and Arlene B. Miller, I began to think about a nurse named Mrs. Frank, a dear friend of my family. I have known her since my family moved to Massachusetts when I was three. I do not recall when we met; all I know is that she was always there. She and my mother were friends, as well as her son and my brother, so our families saw each other often. She was the sweetest woman I have ever met. Without her, I don't think my family would have been able to get through our difficult years in Massachusetts.

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Mrs. Frank was overweight and balding with bumpy, red, scabby skin-side effects from the medicine she needed to keep her alive. I do not remember exactly what afflicted her, but I thought she was dying. I know that she was on strong medicine, including steroids. Nevertheless, Mrs. Frank was healthy. She was living in shalom.


Mrs. Frank made herself available to our family whenever we needed help. She was our personal encourager and spiritual mentor. Her love for the Lord was evident in everything she did, and her compassion and personal sacrifices for others reflected the love she experienced from God. She worked nights so she could be home for her boys. She drove them places and spent time with them so that they knew she loved them, even though she was in much pain. She cared for her elderly mother, when she should have had someone looking after her. Not only did Mrs. Frank take care of my family and me, she also cared for others in her church.


No matter how severe her pain, Mrs. Frank never complained, and she always appeared joyful. By the standards and definitions of most people, Mrs. Frank was far from healthy. Although her body was ailing, she was content and whole. She personified shalom. Mrs. Frank was at peace. She knew where she would go when she died, and she knew who would take care of her family. She knew her church and family loved her as much as she loved them, so she enjoyed good health according to shalom.


I haven't seen Mrs. Frank for several years, but she hasn't changed since I was young. We recently heard that she had been ill, but her illness was back in remission again.


Mrs. Frank is not someone you forget, even though you do not see her every day. To me, she will always be vibrant and full of joy, no matter how her body appears. In my eyes, she is beautiful and healthy. I know that even if we do not see each other again in this life, she will be in heaven singing praises to the Lord. I look forward to seeing her in a place where both of us will be perfectly healthy.