I'm pursuing to become a nurse. I decided to become one after interning at a hospital and getting to follow nurses around to see what the job is really like. It's been two years since I decided on this pursuit to become a caregiver for others in a hospital setting. My desire to become a nurse became stronger once I started to take classes at my university. Doesn't it sound so great-- to be able to interact with those who might have stories to share, to be the support for those who need to heal, or maybe even to be there just for some proximity?
The nearness in space, time or relationship as defined by Google. I know I mentioned that I've been so determined to become a nurse, but Bryan Stevenson visited my school recently, talked about proximity, and had the power to affect my future dreams within the forty minutes I spent listening to his speech. For those of you that have no idea who Bryan Stevenson is, he is a wonderful lawyer who has spent his career fighting discrimination and injustice in the criminal justice system. He has been a highly praised speaker for TED and his book, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, has received phenomenal recognition. I'll be honest-- I haven't read it yet. But listening to his powerful speech taught me three things. One: I need to get my hands on that book as soon as I can and read it . Two: we cannot help the broken unless we step out of our comfort zones and are prepared to be vulnerable and display our own brokenness. And three: we must become proximate to this injustice we are constantly hearing about. Stevenson made an excellent point when he said that we can't simply continue to watch from a distance and assume that campaigning, fundraising, etc. is going to save lives. Of course, all those different fundraisers and organizations mean well, but do we actually know what the mistreated need?
That's why his emphasis on proximity was so powerful. In order to actually assist those who are facing injustice, we need to step out of our comfort zones and step into their shoes. We need to be prepared to display our vulnerability, display our brokenness, and be prepared to fight for justice. I'm not going to lie, I'm a bystander too. I used to think that donating a few extra dollars or volunteering my time could help those who need assistance. But really, they just need for us to step in their place and get to know their stories before showing them what steps to take a stand for justice. I may not be qualified to ever become a criminal justice lawyer, but I sure as hell know that even as a nurse, proximity is key. Proximity and vulnerability together are what allows for us to see and share the truth and set our society on the path to a more equal and just world.