A few words from your Wesley Nurse: God’s garden

What a beautiful spring we’ve had. I am blessed to have a firsthand view of God’s garden along the country roads I take to work. When I arrive at the church, I am greeted by God’s beautiful handiwork: the lovingly cultivated field of poppies, an assortment of bright, sunny-colored flowers, and the serene beauty of the tranquil prayer garden tended by a few of our dedicated congregation members. We’ve been fortunate that the rains came in at just the right amount so that wildflowers that normally await their turn to bloom are all clamoring for attention at once. What a sight to behold! But of course, to have this beauty, we must endure some adversity – thunderous storms, power outages and flooding. That’s springtime in Texas!

Like the ebb and flow of nature, human existence similarly goes through ups and downs. Although God gave us the beautiful gifts of forgiveness and unconditional love through His Son, sometimes we must go through some adversity and trials to see and appreciate the beauty of it all. We need the ‘watering’ of God’s love, and His word to thrive and carry us through rough times.

As a Faith Community Nurse for Methodist Healthcare Ministries (located at First United Methodist Church, Luling), I give new patients a brief spiritual assessment containing these three statements:

  1.  I find comfort in my faith or spiritual beliefs.
  2.  Difficult times have strengthened my faith or spiritual beliefs.
  3.  Even during difficult times, I know that things will be OK.

This helps me learn how to best approach a patient’s visit and get a sense of their spirituality.

Typically, most of my patients, as dire as their situations are, still respond that they do have faith. Which is why I was heartbroken when I recently met a new homeless patient that had lost his. He told me he used to attend church, but for a long time now he has felt “like gum on the bottom of God’s shoes.” He didn’t think God cared about him anymore. For me, that’s where the ‘faith’ in Faith Community Nurse kicked in. We talked for some time. Given his circumstance, it was easy to understand why this man felt abandoned. Together, we talked about God’s love and forgiveness — that no matter what may have happened in our past, we’re fortunate to have the forgiveness of a loving Father.

Moving forward for him will be challenging. It’ll also be a work in progress building his trust. But I felt hopeful and uplifted when we parted ways and I reached out to shake his hand. Instead, he hugged me like his life depended on it. He was so thankful we’d gotten to talk.

Our meeting and conversation must have meant a lot to him because the next day when I called him, a friend of his answered and thanked me profusely for taking the time with him that I did. I felt happy that I made a difference. I felt I was the vessel being used to ‘water’ his soul, and I believe in time, he will blossom again.

Until next time, be well and be blessed.

The Rock: A few words from a Wesley Nurse

By Rhonda 'Sue' Hunnicutt, RN, Wesley Nurse (Luling, Texas)

Recently, my husband and I were able to get away together to catch a few local estate sales. This was a rare opportunity for the both of us, and luck just wasn't with us on our treasure hunt. After lunch in Seguin, Texas, we took a back-road home hoping we might happen upon one or two more sales. Luckily, and quite by accident, we did.

As soon as I walked into the living room of the home where the sale was being conducted, an unusual print on the wall caught my eye. I don't usually find artwork to my taste at estate sales, but this one kept drawing me in, especially when I read the words superimposed on the print. It was a quote from Plato, "The part can never be well unless the whole is well." As a Wesley Nurse, we take a 'holistic' approach to health — mind, body, and spirit. This seemed perfect for my office. As I looked at the picture closely, I began to truly appreciate it. It reminded me of rocks covered in lichen, that I saw as a child, and as an adult hiking at Enchanted Rock. I thought, "There's no way this item will be priced at a price I can afford," but I had to ask anyway. It turns out the price was very reasonable so naturally, I had to buy this work of art for my office.

The cashier, her husband, and I conversed, as people tend to do at estate sales (one of the reasons I love going to them). We discussed how this print fit into the mission of a Wesley Nurse. Being in Seguin, and doing as most Wesley Nurses do, I switched gears to work mode and I asked the couple if they knew they had a Wesley Nurse in Seguin. "Why yes, we do," the man stated, his chest puffing up with pride. "Danna Dyess — we go to church with her!"

The print was accompanied by a card of authenticity, which had just a snippet on the print's origin. The print, aptly named "The Rock," was created by a local Seguin artist, Kolleen Kallus, who used a rock down the road from her home as inspiration. I was so excited to come upon such a treasure. I had to know more. I looked up the website for Kolleen's business listed on the card, Hope at the Heart®. From there, the most beautiful story unfolded. The story of a thirteen-year-old girl who had endured the shock and horror of stage-four ovarian cancer and survived! You see, by the time many women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, it's too late, and yet this teenage girl endured and triumphed over the chemotherapy and many surgeries required for her survival. As I read on, tears were flowing. She went on to follow her heart and used art as an expression of her faith, and still does so today. Clearly, she lives for God and gives Him the glory in her artwork and stories. Though Kolleen started out with photography, she gravitated toward her love of acrylics to create her beautiful works of art. Her relationship with Christ shines through her work and provides hope and inspiration to those who may feel hopeless.

Her story was so touching. I wanted to know more about the wonderful print of hers that I now owned, and about the person who created it. I found Kolleen on Facebook and reached out to her. Within a short time, she reached back! We have had lovely conversations, and she is an inspiration to me. She said that she is inspired by the roles of the Wesley Nurses, and was happy that the print found the home that it did. There are only two prints of "The Rock" — mine, and another commissioned by a physician in San Antonio.

Some may say it was coincidence, but I believe "The Rock" found me. The story is so much bigger than the print. It was God, our rock, my rock, THE rock, leading me to another sister in Christ. I feel honored that Kolleen has allowed me to re-tell her story. As so often happens in life, those 'nudges' or 'God winks' (as some people refer to them), lead us together for a higher purpose. I believe that happens in life more than we know, we just need to take the time to listen or watch for them.

Until next time, be well and be blessed.

Rhonda Hunnicutt, RN, is a Wesley Nurse with Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. Methodist Healthcare Ministries' Wesley Nurse program is a faith-based, holistic health and wellness program committed to serving the least served through education, health promotion and collaboration with individual and community in achieving improved wellness through self-empowerment. Learn more at www.mhm.org

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Jaime Wesoloski

President & Chief Executive Officer

Jaime Wesolowski is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Methodist Healthcare Ministries. A healthcare executive with three decades of leadership experience, Jaime is responsible for the overall governance and direction of Methodist Healthcare Ministries. Jaime earned his Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from Xavier University, and his Bachelor’s of Science from Indiana University in Healthcare Administration. As a cancer survivor, Jaime is a staunch supporter of the American Cancer Society. He serves as Chair of the American Cancer Society’s South Texas Area board of directors and he was appointed as Chair to the recently created South Region Advisory Cabinet, covering eight states from Arizona through Alabama. Jaime believes his personal experience as a cancer survivor has given him more defined insight and compassion to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of patients and their families.