Florence Nightingale, known for her tremendous compassion, was termed "The Angel of Crimea."
A wounded soldier had to undergo a severe operation.
His heart would not permit his taking an anesthetic. The doctor informed him that he had better not operate since the pain would be so great that he could not endure it. The soldier replied that he could endure it under one condition.
"I can bear the pain if you will get the Angel of Crimea to hold my hand during the operation."
Florence Nightingale took the rough soldier's hand in her own, held it, and caressed it, as his mother might. As the knife cut through the tender flesh and the saw cut through the bone, the soldier never flinched. When the operation was over, the doctor said in amazement, "I do not see how you stood it."
He answered, "I could not do otherwise. My hand was in the hand of the Angel of Crimea."
In 1 Peter 3:8, we read, "Have compassion for one another." "Compassion" means to suffer together with other people.
On a hot August afternoon, a fierce battle of the Civil War had just ended.
Dead and wounded lay scattered on the field. Returning to his headquarters, Robert E. Lee, leader of the Confederate Army, made his way among the casualties. A Northern soldier, bleeding from a gaping wound in his leg, raised his head out of the dirt.
Through the agony, he shouted defiantly, "Down with the South!" An aide drew his pistol and aimed.
General Lee shook his head, dismounted, and knelt beside the soldier. "I'm sorry you're hurt," he said, holding his own water canteen to the soldier's parched lips. "May God speed your recovery."
Years later, the soldier recalled the incident.
"I despised that man and what he stood for," he said, "until his compassion broke my hatred. While I waited for the stretcher-bearers, most of my pain left."
"We can do no great things, only small things with great love" (Mother Theresa).
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