One of the best things about my job is getting to talk to UMHB students and alumni who are doing amazing things. Whether they are creating a food pantry for hungry students, or serving on mission fields on the other side of the globe, they share their stories with me, and I am, without fail, inspired. Perhaps the most inspiring of all these was the hero who ghosted me.
As the Director of Marketing & Public Relations, I am constantly looking for great stories that highlight the university and its students. So when a friend mentioned offhand a former classmate who had traveled to New York City to serve on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was hooked.
As casually as I could, I asked for more details. I learned that the woman in question had been a nursing student at UMHB before moving out of state. Even though she is married with kids, when she heard that hospitals in New York needed trained nurses, she answered the call, traveling more than a thousand miles to help strangers in need. She has been serving there for months, even missing her husband’s and one of her kid’s birthdays.
As a human, I was inspired by even these barebones of a story. As a professional communicator, I was excited to learn more and to share this amazing story of a UMHB student living out the university’s mission, living a life of leadership and service in a global society.
I immediately knew the questions I would ask, the details I wanted to paint, the heartstrings I would pluck. I reached out to the hero via social media, and she was every bit as warm and friendly as you would imagine. She seemed open to doing an interview and I was on cloud nine.
Then something unexpected happened. While nearly every interview subject I’ve encountered was eager to share their story (especially if it didn’t require going on camera), this interviewee proved hard to pin down. At first, it was difficult to schedule an interview. Then, when one was tentatively scheduled, it had to be postponed at the last minute.
I will confess, after a few weeks, I became frustrated. Can you imagine that? I was annoyed at a woman who had sacrificed time with her family and risked her own health to serve people in desperate need … from the comfort of my home office (because quarantine), risking nothing greater than carpal tunnel. I’m not proud of it.
Then, one day, while pondering this quandary, I had a sudden realization. Could it be that the same person, who was selfless enough to endure all those conditions, might also be so humble as to be uncomfortable with having me chronicle her heroism? Crazy, I know.
It turned out to be true. I asked her, point blank, if modesty was the reason that she’d been avoiding an interview, and she confessed it was. Of course, she had also been stressed and exhausted, but it seemed authentic Christian humility was the real culprit.
Of course, this did nothing to abate my desire to profile her story. If anything, I felt even more strongly that this self-sacrificing person deserved to be celebrated. Alas, in this world where Instagram influencers pose for shots to simulate community service, I had found a Christian woman who was living out the call of James 1:27 and caring for “orphans and widows in their affliction, and… keep[ing] oneself unstained from the world.”
Her humility, after all, has inspired me nearly as much as her selflessness and her service. I want to be more like this woman. I want to raise my daughters to be like this woman, to serve because we’ve been called to serve and not because it might earn us kudos or little blue thumbs up emojis.
With this in mind, I have honored my hero’s request to be anonymous. I have refrained from sharing her name, the name of the New York hospital in which she has served, even her hometown. I will, however, defy this request in one way. When I’ve finished writing this post, I plan to send it to this woman’s family. My hope is that one day, when her children are older and can understand the nature of this pandemic, they can be inspired as I have been, not only by their mother’s dedication to serving God’s children but by her commitment to giving the glory of that gift back to her father in heaven.The mission of the Scott and White College of Nursing at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor is to prepare excellent professional nurses who contribute to the health and welfare of individuals, families and communities in diverse healthcare environments. If you are looking to attend one of the top nursing programs in the country, we invite you to visit our website for more information.