Celebrating Our Heroes: A Reflection for National Nurses Week and Health Care Week

Nurses Week Masthead

By Scott Opperman and Kathy Schell

The Gospels report that Jesus said: “If you want to save your lives, you must lose them.” One way of understanding this is that when we become self-absorbed, so focused on ourselves, we oddly become unfree and unfulfilled. Life seems dangerous all around us and we can become debilitated. Again, strange as it sounds, if, however, we “lose” ourselves and shift the focus outwards—if we become persons for others on a purposeful mission—we may “save” our lives (not to mention others). That is, we may live freely and fully.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have exemplified being persons for others on a mission: Our shared Trinity Health Mission. Most members of our communities would have understood if we performed in a less than exceptional way given the invisible, contagious danger around us. Instead, we have served and continue to serve beyond their expectations. We haven’t sought recognition but our communities offer it abundantly—in the vicinities of Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Grand Rapids, the Lakeshore, Livingston, Livonia, Muskegon, Oakland, and beyond.

We, Mercy Health and St. Joseph Mercy Health System colleagues, have been honored as authentic heroes by our communities because of our remarkable care during this pandemic. Our intent was not to seek recognition. But truly in “losing” our lives we have “saved” them (not to mention others). What a blessing it is to share a purposeful Mission: Serving together in the spirit of the Gospel.

Happy National Health Care and Nurses Week to all our heroes!

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Scott Opperman serves as Director of Mission Integration for Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, and Kathy Schell serves as Director of Mission Integration, St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea.