Many of us have received extraordinary gifts. We have benefited from the opportunity to learn specialized skills to offer to those who seek our care. We have been given insights by revered mentors as well as inspirational encounters with everyday people. It has been said “For those to whom much is given, much is required.”
As I go through my day, I try to do what is required as a result of the abundance of gifts I have received, using those skills and insights that have been unselfishly offered to me. Perhaps the greatest professional gift I have received, however, came from my wife Jeanne. As an oncology nurse for over 20 years she brought skills and compassion to individuals who faced more than a loss of a measure of health – they faced fear. Her words were simple, offered with the touch of a warm hand and soft eyes. Her gift was the words, “We’ll get you through this.”
Her words offered no promise of cure, no sugar-coated view of the process. People know. Hers is a deeply personal promise of caring, commitment and compassion. It is the promise of not being alone. It is a rare gift that can be more powerful than our commonly applied skills, procedures or technology. I’d like to think her words live somewhere in every conversation I have with those who seek my care.
It is among my most treasured gifts from her. I am happily required to pass it along to you.
Robert W. Spreen DDS