Posted: December 21, 2022 by Erica Sandeno
Do you rely on Emmanuel God With Us for the big, hard, difficult things in life? How about the little easy everyday things?
Several years ago, I worked as a nurse in the Emergency Room. My good friend Olivia was a die hard Cubs fan. She lived and breathed Chicago Cubs. Not only did she love the Cubs, she was one of those fans who loathed Sox fans. Baseball is all she talked about. After working together closely for a few years, she gave me a nickname.
She called me El Duque. This went on for a long time when finally one day I said “Stop calling me that!” She looked surprised by my irritation. El Duque was a nickname given to Orlando Hernandez. He was a pitcher for the White Sox several years ago. I had assumed that, since she was such a Sox hater, that calling me El Duque was a playful insult. I was quite wrong. She went on to explain that in fact it was an endearing nickname. “Do you know anything about him?” she questioned. “No,” I admitted.
Orlando Hernandez was not just a pitcher, he was, more specifically, a closer. A closer has a unique talent when it comes to playing baseball. They have a big job because they are usually brought in under difficult circumstances. They have a tall order with little to no room for mistakes.
In 2005, Game 3 of the ALDS, the White Sox found themselves with the bases loaded, nobody out, and a skinny lead. With many options for skilled pitchers, who did Ozzie Guillen turn to? You guessed it, El Duque. He did the impossible, and he did it in dramatic fashion. All of Fenway park was in an absolute frenzy as Hernandez took the mound. He got Jason Varitek to pop out. He worked over Tony Graffanino until he achieved the same outcome after a 10 pitch at bat. Furthermore, he sealed the deal by striking out Johnny Damon with a check swing on a full count.
“Tremendous inning under the highest amount of pressure that you can have as a baseball player” quoted White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper.
So as it turns out, my friend was complimenting me, not playfully insulting me. After hearing the details of why she admired this pitcher enough to nickname me after him, I had to ask, what does any of that have to do with me?
She told me that after years of working together in an ER setting, under difficult circumstances, she loved the days and moments when we worked the same shift. She said it gave her comfort when she was taking care of a critical patient and I walked in the room to work alongside her. Not only that, but she had more confidence in her own ability as a nurse when she had someone she trusted to share the workload with her. This put a huge lump in my throat as I realized this was one of the most heartfelt and endearing compliments I had ever received. From that day on, I loved when she called me El Duque!
This memory resurfaced this holiday season as I think back to my days of working in the ER. The thing I loved the most were the people I worked with and the comradery. I saw and experienced a lot of things in my ten years that would frighten most people. Looking back, I wonder how I was able to bear the load of responsibility given to me at times. People’s lives were in our hands on a regular basis, but I loved it. I never felt alone. Whether the task was big or small, my coworkers jumped in, and we worked together. No one was above helping out, whether it was a nurse, charge nurse, patient care tech, or the ER doctor, they lightened my load and supported me. I then enjoyed returning the favor for them, and I loved working there.
This reminds me of what the Holy Spirit does for me. Emmanuel means God with us. We serve a God that does life with us. He is not a tyrant of a boss who sits in an office somewhere and puts out a list of demands and expectations on us to achieve on our own. He humbly came to earth, in the form of an infant, to walk alongside us and to do life WITH us.
“Behold a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel” (God with us) Matthew 1:23
I don’t know about you, but I feel like any job feels harder when you are alone. If you have someone to help you out or keep you company, the hardest task can seem easy.
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