My friend, MJ Olson, demonstrates what love and kindness look like in hard times. Daily, in more than 100-degree weather, MJ heads to the homes of patients recovering from COVID-19 to help them manage the aftermath of this vicious virus. Dressed in full personal protective equipment and often bathed in sweat, she cares for the patients so many others refuse to see.
MJ has been a nurse for 37 years and a widow for the last six, but this is not what she had planned to do when she moved to Las Vegas to retire and be near family. Having worked as an ICU and ER nurse, as well as working in a jail, she was used to dealing with very ill patients. But her new position as a home health nurse was supposed to be different – providing post-discharge support to patients recently released from the hospital.
Then the pandemic hit. Patients recovering from COVID-19 needed care for the lung, heart, and kidney problems that are consequences of the disease. These patients also face post-traumatic stress disorder and isolation and are thus desperate for someone to hear their stories. Many nurses understandably hesitate to accept the heavy responsibility and associated risk.
MJ says she daily prays for strength and courage to accept the challenge. Now she is the hands and ears of the physician as she visits patients in their homes. Laughing, praying, and sometimes just listening, she is Jesus in-person for patients who are often treated as modern-day lepers. She says, “Since I can no longer care for my husband, this is my way of giving back.”
When I asked her how she was able to respond this way, she said, “Love and kindness come naturally to a believer.”
These godly “fruit” come naturally for MJ, and I pray they will come naturally for each of us. May we obey Paul’s counsel to “not live according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4).
by Dr. Naomi Purdy is the widow of Vernon and a practicing physician in Las Vegas, Nevada.