I used to (and still find myself trying, even today) compare my life with others. I guess it is a natural part of our psyches to a degree. From the beginning of time we have been consumed with what we perceive someone else has that we want. Remember Cain and Abel?
Especially in the realm of special needs, this is a daily struggle. Being a caregiver, but especially being an unpaid, unprofessional, caregiver means I do most all of the grunt work with no validation or payment or accolades. It is just what I do.
There have been times when I lament my situation and see my peers in their careers doing great things and feel so very isolated, unworthy, and boring. For example, I have dear friends who are attorneys, college deans, teachers, nurses, administrators, and such. They have important jobs and touch so many lives. I, on the other hand, help my daughter shower, feed her, take her to appointments, and so on. Not very glamorous or special.
However, I have also learned something very important in the process. In one of my devotional books, The Shack, Reflections for every day of the year, by Wm. Paul Young, validates even the everyday mundane things of life. One of the entries says,
“Help me not lose the sense of purpose in even the most ordinary parts of life – the mundane, the required, the routine, the usual.” June 9
Most caregivers find themselves left out of life in general. Everything about our lives simply revolves around those we care for. We cannot really do much without taking our loved one into consideration.
People move on with their lives and according to social media are having a blast doing it. It can be downright depressing at times. Not only do we miss out on some of the normal things of life, but especially some of the fun stuff.
Now before you start feeling sorry for all us pitiful caregivers, remember most of us are quite ok with our lot in life. We love and care for those God has entrusted to us, dearly.
I am learning to settle down in my new normal and try and find ways where I can serve where I am, with what I have, and with my unique situation.
I am learning there is purpose in what I do. I am learning that Jesus never really got validation for all He did and endured, except for God speaking directly to Him and telling Him how much He was loved by His Father, and He only did this a few times at that.
What I am trying to say is, that what you do as a caregiver is important, as important as what an attorney does, or a college dean, or a teacher, or an administrator, or a doctor or nurse, or whatever else comes to your mind.
One of the last entries in the above mentioned book says it best,
“Is what I do back home important? Does it matter? I really don’t do much…”
Sarayu interrupted him, “Mack, if anything matters then everything matters. Because you are important, everything you do is important.”
“Yesterday I slept in till ten, watched football, fed the dog, did some dishes, had a few conversations about whatever, and fell asleep in my chair at 9:30. Thank you! Every day is a holy day; everything matters.” December 28
I need to remember this on a daily basis. We all do, caregivers or not. When you are a part of God’s kingdom, we are important and everything we do is important, even the mundane and required.
May God bless you wherever you find yourself at this moment in time. God has placed you at this place and at this time for a reason. If you are struggling, first thank him for your current circumstances and ask Him to show you His purposes for where you are. Ask Him to guide and direct your paths wherever He may lead. Trust Him, He knows what He is doing.