Every person on this planet has a talent within them, bred deep into their core, which gives them purpose beyond merely existing.
Some of us can create such beauty in this life, yet we struggle to find it. There is a purpose to our lives, even if we cannot see it. The goal is to find it, nurture it, and watch it grow into a gift that we can give to the world.
For the music makers, who can make a sound so beautiful the listeners can feel it radiate into their hearts and provide an escape.
The writers, who can speak to their audience and be a part of their deepest fears, hopes, and dreams.
Then, there are our healers. The people who fill their daily lives trying to save others.
At this moment, I want anyone reading this to visualize the healer in their life or inside themselves and know how beautiful a creation and how magical a gift it is to be one, know one, or love one. The beauty in being a healer is no easy task. There is a depth to these people that is unfathomable unless you have walked a day in their shoes–unless you are one, that can be next to impossible.
I write this for those who carry this gift with the hope that you can feel appreciated.
There is a special group of healers who I want to take the time to speak of. The paramedics, EMTs, nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, and anyone in the hospital or outside who is a part of this system. The job descriptions might entail different aspects and duties, but not one could function without the other. This is a team I am speaking about, a well-oiled machine that operates for one task and one task only: healing.
You might wonder what one has to do with the other, but each role has its specifics, just as trying and difficult. One thing I know we all have in common is the pain we all share during difficult times of which we might not speak.
I recently had one of the most powerful moments in my career. It has shifted my perspective entirely on why I do what I do in my role. I had just crawled out of a slump of feeling like I didn’t belong. I had days on the job, like I’m sure most of us do, where I wondered why I am in this business. The conditions can be lacking, the treatment of staff can be unbelievably harsh and unacceptable—be it by patients, the higher-ups, and even in how we treat each other.
I am sure anyone reading this, whether you’re in this business or not, can imagine what it’s like to be underappreciated and overworked. This year alone has been the most trying time globally, but especially in our industry and under the umbrella of emergency services, that some of us, call home.
I want to take a moment to describe what home should feel like. We know that when we step into our house, it is our safe space. It’s a place where the worries of the day can melt away from our hearts, and our minds can be at peace. For us in our workplace, our coworkers have become family. We have had experiences together that shape us and hurt us; we have held each other while we shed tears of sadness, grief, and joy. Some of us share our outside lives and stand up at weddings, birthdays, and stand in with each other’s children to share the joys of living. But our “home” is slightly dysfunctional.
When we show up to perform our tasks, we have no idea what awaits us or what is to come. Every single one of us is prepared to go to war for someone else’s life. That is our home; that is what we do—side by side, as one.
The paramedics and EMTs who bring us our patients off the street function in some of the most horrific scenes known in this business. They step into homes infested with insects, garbage, bodily fluids, dead animals, and dead bodies. They arrive at horrific crashes to decapitations, dismembered, and mutilated humans. They pick up people on the street covered in vomit, urine, feces, lice, and some things they can’t even identify. These individuals work hours that far exceed their shift times and sometimes do not even get a chance to eat.
The same truth goes for these healers; they show up every day not knowing what it will bring.
While not every day is horrific, the days that are go beyond your worst nightmares, but they do it anyway. They are warriors trying to save the life of someone they have never met. That is beautiful but hardly recognized.
The healers in this field carry a shield of armor. It is an impenetrable force meant to protect us from the outside environment. This shield is meant to keep us capable of carrying out our duties. It is a superpower, at minimum, to be able to see another person dying in your hands, yet still do everything in your power to stop that from happening.
Your feelings, your emotions, are not meant to break through your shield. If that were to happen, you would fail at the task in front of you—be it putting a tube down someone’s throat to create a pathway to breathe, a needle or tube into someone’s body to inflate a failed lung, or having the strength yet delicacy to push on a babies chest to keep their tiny hearts beating. We carry out these tasks knowing somewhere in there, our efforts will cease and our job will be done.
There are many times we have to stop, and it ends with a life leaving this earth. We have to stop knowing that person does not get another chance to hold their son, hug their parents or grandparents, or see the next year around the sun. If those facts were to penetrate our shield, we have already failed. That knowledge is the driving force for us healers in the moments we show up where others cannot. That makes us different from the rest of the population.
The underlying truth is: we are not so different. At the end of the day, we are meant to take off that body armor. We need to feel; this is a moment we need to recognize our heroes that live this truth.
The experience I mentioned earlier is in regards to a moment that I dropped my armor. I was performing a task where I was supposed to keep myself protected for the sake of my duty to the life wrapped in my hands. When I dropped that protective shield, the most wonderful experience unfolded in front of me. When I looked at the head of the bed, I did not see a doctor performing her job. I looked into the eyes of a woman with her soul on fire, breathing every drop of her experience into giving this child a chance to live.
I saw the dedication only a mother knows, taking on this child as if it were her own and going above and beyond to see the life return in his little body.
I did not see nurses scrambling a room trying to poke for IVs and give medication; I watched powerful individuals holding up their shields to save this innocent soul from being taken away from the planet before he even got a chance to take his first step.
I did not see a respiratory therapist standing next to a bedside; I got a chance to see angels trying to assist in being the lungs for a child who could no longer breathe for himself.
The firefighters, medics, and EMTs did not leave when their duty to get the patient to the destination had been completed. Just like guardians, they stayed with prayers in their eyes and waited with hope in silence.
I saw an army of healers doing what they were meant to do in life—protect the sick and save the dying. I saw humans just like me, and at that moment, I felt a sense of belonging. I could not be more proud to belong to this group of people.
There are days we will all forget why we exist. There will be days we will be caught in a perpetuating cycle of feeling underappreciated and overworked. Those nights we cannot sleep because of the grief and sadness that doesn’t belong to us personally will come for us. There will be days we are too detached to drop our armor and face the feelings to heal ourselves.
I want to take this moment to say, from the bottom of my heart to each and every single one of you mentioned, how much we are needed and valued.
While we might not always see it, hear it, or feel it, the world needs us.
We are the ones put here to be the savior to the sick. We are the ones put here to be the strength in the community that only we can provide.
At the end of the day, if no one else tells you, find it in yourself to look in the mirror and see what you indeed are. You are a warrior; you are a healer—and without you, the team will not be complete.
To our community, please take a moment to recognize the healers in your world. We all may have someone in our lives that is only alive because of them. For those who left the world in our presence, you should know we carry that weight forever in our precious healing hands and healing hearts.
That weight is unbelievably heavy, but it does not prevent us from showing up every day to fight the battle only we can.
Thank you to our healers.