When chronic illness flares up or just even when new medical hurdles arise, it’s crisis mode. Time to bring in the paper plates and disposable silverware. Something so simple and yet so helpful. It’s not time to dig one’s heels in and insist on fine china!
The roles have been reversed lately at my house. This mama who was a caregiver for years, now finds herself being cared for after carpal tunnel surgery. I have not been the most gracious patient and have given up responsibilities kicking and screaming. I’ve been asking myself why. Stubbornness? Pride?
I’ve seen that I can be very, very determined. Or is it pride? I don’t LIKE to ask for help. It might take me twice as long, but I can do it myself. But then I began to see those things I CANNOT do myself. I HATE asking for help. Yep, probably pride. At least my cat puts up with me. That’s because I feed him.
This healing passage reminds me that nobody WANTS to be a burden. Nobody would choose to need help. But just as care-giving is a learned skill, relying is as well. I had to learn to allow others to care for me. Day one, I was determined I could care for myself if I could just figure out how to do things differently. If I could adapt the process, I wouldn’t need to ask for help. Do you know how annoying it is to watch someone in desperate need of help and because of stubbornness, refuse to ask for it? As I was learning to accept help, those around me were learning to provide assistance. There were times I knew they were getting tired of doing the same tasks over and over but they continued to do so out of love for me. They had to be patient with me and I had to be patient with them. Caring for someone and leaving dignity at the same time comes from a sacrificial, PATIENT heart. A compassionate caregiver is invaluable. If you are a care-giver, know that what you do day in and day out matters greatly.
As the patient, I had to learn that allowing others to help me was a blessing to them. It allowed me to conserve my energy when my husband washed my hair, when my daughter put my hair up for me, when my husband cooked a meal as I gave him directions. For times that I was able to adapt my method, it showed me that my brain could re-wire, that my left hand could learn to use a mouse, that I could do dishes by using a sponge instead of my usual dishcloth. There was so much I could still do! I was able to plan meals and shop online! I could pray for others. And my family was capable of so much more than I imagined. Who knew my husband could fold laundry?! I think he actually enjoyed cooking with me!
More than anything, I learned to give myself grace. I am exceptionally hard on myself and it felt good to say, “It’s ok. Back up, Bossy. Be easy on yourself. You are still healing.” I had to lower the bar of perfection. It might not be as clean as I would like it now, but it will do for the time being. I am so grateful to be living in the age of FaceTime. Seeing my family members just lifted my spirits like nothing else. It reminds me that life is more than what I give to others. It is a circle, a dance of give and take, of loving and being loved. As life happens, it gives us a different viewpoint from which to give thanks.
Photo credit: Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/bilderjet-284346/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=987906">Bilderjet</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=987906">Pixabay</a>