On occasion, the little committee of people in my head has a meeting. They bring up all my faults and mistakes. “She’s bitchy, and she’s impatient,” one of them says. “She’s fat. She has no energy.” remarks a particularly callus one. “She’s just lazy.” “She’s getting old,not as bright as she used to be.” “She’s just BORING.”
When I start feeling down and discouraged and unworthy, it always helps to pull out this letter from my friend Nancy. She wrote it a couple years ago, when I needed a letter of recommendation for a job interview. I told her it was the mother of all letters of recommendation, like a ten minute standing ovation on paper, and I was going out immediately to get the job of Wonder Woman.
In reality, I’m a mere shadow of the person my friend describes. The truth is, my friend Nancy is the one made of pure gold, and everyone in this world should have someone like her. I just don’t know how I got so lucky. Reading her letter always raises my self-esteem, because I love Nancy, and she believes these things about me, and that means I’m Worthy. This letter is a treasure, and this is the sandy beach internet X where I’m digging the hole to bury it for safekeeping.
So, here it is:
To Whom It May Concern:
It would be difficult to sum up the many excellent qualities of Charlotte McCall — having known her for over forty years — but I would begin with the word Empathetic. Her ability to quickly zone in on the person — no matter what age or type — allows her to use her nursing skills and flexibility to give the best care possible. The very minute she walks into a room, she is prepared, eager, focused, and absolutely competent to handle any patient or task. Even outside of the profession, Charlotte is a natural care-giver and nurturer. She has made the journey to my home over the years to care for me and my family post-childbirth, after minor surgeries, even some personal losses, and she has taken joy in being a part of the healing and restoration process. I can think of no other person better qualified or suitable to have on board in any home or institution when it comes to nursing care. Charlotte McCall’s boundless energy and enthusiasm translates and transcends through every challenge with compassion and strength.
The next term that describes Charlotte is Creative. She is literally able to “make a silk purse from a sow’s ear,” because she is undaunted even when there are limited materials. Her talent for improvisation is remarkable, and she is never rattled when things don’t go according to plan, or because there is a lack of something specific to get a job done. Her dexterity and intelligence almost make her over-qualified for nursing, but she thrives on using her skills with people in need. She brings relief and joy with her wherever she goes, and becomes a vital part of any team. Her confidence and experience allow her to be able to perform on her own without supervision, or to be flexible as a team member, or to lead as example and organizer. Charlotte McCall does not have an ax to grind, or a fragile ego that needs coddling, or to prove herself to anyone. Her goal is to be the best nurse for the situation and the patient. She assumes and respects that others feel the same way, and always assumes the best of others.
For the sake of brevity, I end with the word Qualified. Charlotte has written published articles related to guidelines for families and children for Deaf Education world-wide. She has presented at national conferences from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. She is fluent in American Sign Language. Charlotte has cared for infants, toddlers, teenagers, adults, and the elderly. She has worked in hospitals, clinics, and home health. She is a life-long student, eternally curious, adept at discussing biology, health, mathematics, chemistry, and all topics related to the care, growth, function, and healing of the human body. Charlotte McCall embodies the spirit of what every health care professional strives for — understanding, creativity, empathy, and implementing her skills for the sake of doing everything she can to be helpful.
Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or want more information about Charlotte McCall. I am happy to tell you how this remarkable woman as sustained me as a friend and affected my whole life and family. I am familiar with her origins, her family for three generations.
Nancy (last name withheld)