08 June 2011

Lessons From the Sink Scrubber

M. is a kid that works in the OR Bloc.  He has a high school degree, and started off working in the hospital's housekeeping department.  Word on the street is that our chief of surgery watched him cleaning the hospital hallways for several months and went to the head of personnel and told him that he wanted M. moved to the OR.

This guy cleans as if the Queen of England is due for a visit.

And not just once in a while.  All the time.

In fact, I've never seen him do any task half-heartedly.  No matter how menial it may seem, he does his best and he does it well.  Often M. helps me out with translation (he has beautiful French) and even will assist me from time to time with dressing changes.  I enjoy working with him because he's incredibly curious, asks lots of questions, and soaks up the answers like a sponge.

But today I learned a few things from him.

As I was waiting for a patient to be brought in, M. started cleaning the OR sinks.  He pulled out the cleaning product and the Nigerien equivalent of a Brill-O pad.  He scoured those metal sinks as if there was nothing more important in the world.  He put every bit of force he had into scrubbing them clean.

I went about my morning and thought nothing of it.  About an hour later I was at the sink washing my hands (not to worry, I had already washed them at those same sinks several times . . . just thought nothing of it) when I realized how sparklingly shiny the water spouts were.  I looked into the normally-dulled-with-grime-and-water-and-soap-residue basins.  I could see my reflection smiling back at me.  M. had not just cleaned those sinks, he polished them.

I began to think about that verse in 1 Corinthians 10 '. . . whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.'  I had a hard time picturing myself at 30 scrubbing a sink everyday in such a way that sparkles when I'm done.  Sure, if QueenElizabeth were in town . . . but on a daily basis?

I started to think about crutch training.  Do I give out every pair of crutches as if I was doing it for the glory of God?  If He looked down into my proverbial-sink-of-crutch-training would His reflexion smile back at Him?  I had to admit to myself, and to the Lord, that no, He probably wouldn't.

The truth is, crutch-training is probably the easiest part of my day.  But I hate it.  There's nothing 'OT' about it.  It's a necessity and it's my responsibility and until I have an aide to pawn it off on, I'm stuck with it.

But what kind of a crap attitude is that?  What happened to 'whatever you do, do all for the glory of God'?  Crutch-training provides mobility for my patients.  And it offers me the opportunity to spend some time with Nigeriens.  I could polish my sink and use crutch-training as chance to spread the love of God, instead, I have been choosing to look down on this obligatory task as a time-consuming burden.  Time I could better spend stretching burn patients or doing exercises with patients who have recently become paralyzed.  But 'God chose the foolish things to shame the wise' (I Cor 1:27).

So while M. continues to stand on a rung pretty close to the bottom, he also demonstrates an ethic that will not only bring him further towards the top but that helps the hold the rest of us to that same standard.


Davidanitac said...

way to go Deb!

Bobnrobn said...

May I learn from M.  xoxoxox

Mehrkens said...

This is so inspiring Debra! Thank you for posting this.
I am a server at a local restaurant and while reading your post I was thinking about the people that I serve as I waitress. I have no idea what is going on in their lives or their needs. I have been inspired to make it a goal of mine to all 1 corinthians 10 to my work. Who knows how it may touch someones life. There are no small jobs right? Just where God places us....
I noticed you mentioned that you help people by teaching them to use crutches?
It must be very hard to all of the sudden be paralyzed as you mentioned...
I wanted to tell you that I started a online support group for anyone suffering from chronic illnesses and the care givers and anyone is welcome.
It has been on my heart since I was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. I hope this does not come across as spam. It is not how I intended it. I enjoyed your post and wanted to welcome you to my site. www.hopeaboveall.com Thank you for sharing.
Keeping you and your loved ones in my prayers,

Deb. said...

Thank you Angela, for taking the time to read and respond!

That's right! There are NO small jobs! Remember the servant girl at the door, Rhoda (Acts 12) . . . and even Balaam's talking donkey (Numbers 22). What a great opportunity you have, as a waitress, to interact with SO many coming and going and be a blessing to them (in fact, I just wrote a post on that very subject this week: http://dberruti.blogspot.com/2011/06/tonight-jesus-is-speaking-hausa.html).

I checked out your site. I'm sure it will bless MANY! May the Lord fill you with His peace as you go through ongoing treatment for your tumor. May you feel His presence as He guides your steps on this path. May you trust HIm when you can only see where you are, and not where you're going.

Ekim025 said...

Lil' Sister you have done it once again! wonderfully said, well put and the truth is the post "lessons from the Sink Scrubber" is ever so instructional. This young man if he is truly serving the way he does for His Lord will be a very important person in Glory. He as challenged this Old man and humbled him as well. your ability to put these experience into words is also wonderful.

Deb. said...

Thank you!