Elmina Spencer was respected for her work with the sick in her local village of Oswego, New York. When her husband volunteered for military duty, she went with him. She spent two weeks on
horseback just to reach Gettysburg, which meant hauling some three hundred and fifty pounds of supplies. When the weather was too warm for the soldiers to wear their wool coats, Spencer would volunteer her horse to carry the coats and march beside her husband.
During the first day’s battle Spencer found herself caring for the wounded and simultaneously creating a makeshift hospital in a small church located south of the fighting. Among the six hundred wounded she was attending was a young soldier who was shot through the mouth and throat. The surgeons, who had more injured than they could possibly handle, quickly assessed him as terminal since he could not swallow. Refusing to give up, Spencer continually bathed his wound in cold water so that it might heal. She directed the wounded soldier not to ask for any food for a week. Heroically he endured, and miraculously the inflammation began to subside. She was able to close the wound, and at her direction he readily consumed a healthy broth. His health improved and his life was saved.
Another nurse testified to Spencer’s endurance and courage: “…the noble woman seemed unwearied in her extensive work or mercy…She often went to…distribute supplies of tobacco whilst the bullets of the enemy were dropping around her.”
Success comes in small steps.
Add new experiences to your life. Each fresh experience is an influence that leads you to have a little more self-confidence. If you want to write a letter, first learn how to write a sentence. If you want to build a house, learn how to use a saw. Break down what appears to be a difficult job into small, manageable tasks so that reaching a goal becomes a whole lot easier.
Experience guides you to solutions.
When you have a problem, the solution may be in the inventory of your experiences. Let them be your influences. Accept the value of experience and the time to gain it. It leads you to trust your instincts, your intuition, or your “gut.” It saved the life of a young man from Oswego.
Copyright © 2011 Paul Lloyd Hemphill