Monday, July 6, 2015

When the journey gets Long

The hospital is a familiar place for many caregivers. We lived there for over 4 months after my son's accident. And then there are times when it seems like we make so many trips they should offer us rewards like frequent flyer miles or something. (smile) Feeding tubes fall out, O2 levels drop below 90, falls or any number of things specific to an individual's care can send you running right back up there. Initially we had tons of friends coming to sit with us. But when the journey got longer they seemed to start disappearing quickly.

After the hospital stay we were in two nursing homes and a couple of rehab facilities before we were able to settle in at home. Even though our lives were still changing and evolving everyone seemed to make the assumption that we were home, so everything was okay. They thought things were returning to normal. But in reality we were just trying to find a new normal. And of course, caregiving is a whole different world.

Friends seemed to disappear even though a few are still in contact. Becoming a caregiver can be difficult on friends. It's like they think it changes you. And in some ways it definitely does over time just like life itself. But just because you became a caregiver doesn't mean the core of you changed. You still have the same sense of humor (necessary for caregiving!), like your coffee the same way and still enjoy doing some of the same things - if there is time.

Having friends who walk away can feel like betrayal. And that's what we find in Micah 7. The prophet is describing a very rough time and a time of betrayal by even family members, which happens a lot too. In many cases it's just that people no longer know what to do with us. Our journey as we step into a caregiving role becomes longer and more difficult than they can handle. And in many cases they don't know what to say, how to help or how to make it better so they do and say nothing. It feels like betrayal.

We make a lot of jokes about Job's friends in his Biblical account. And even though they got pretty rough with him later on - early in his journey they were prime examples of true friends. When they heard he was ill and was going through a horrible time - they came and sat. They had no words; but they sat with him in silent mourning for 7 days. What a picture of true heart-felt compassion for a friend. There wasn't anything they could do to make it better but they were present for his journey.

I have friends who are present on this journey of caregiving. But I've also had some for whom the journey got too long, too difficult and they walked away. During those times when the feelings of betrayal seem to saturate our souls, we can say what Micah did in chapter 7 verse 7: But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. 

When our friends can't hear us - God can. When our friends are not present for our journey - God is. When we face days all alone - God is with us and can hear us. He hears our weeping in the night hours when friends and family are not around. He hears and He can endure the journey.

Today I will meditate on the truth that God has not bailed ship. He is still walking on this caregiving journey with me. It hasn't gotten too long or too difficult for Him. I will rejoice in the truth that He ain't going nowhere! He will remain on this journey with me. I will turn my thoughts to His ever abiding, patient presence in my life today. Will you join me?


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