More and more of my friends are arriving at a season of life I entered a decade ago. Unlike other stages of life, people don’t dream of this life stage. Many dread it. It’s not stored in anyone’s hope chest or added to a bucket list. It just happens–sometimes gradually and sometimes all at once–at least for most of us.
Caring for an aging or ill parent (or grandparent).
We spend our entire lives fulfilling certain roles: daughter, son, niece, father, mother, brother. And one day they change. One day our parents rely on us for rides to the doctor, healthy meals, and proper hygiene instead of it being as it’s always been: the other way around. Instead of them signing our permission slips, we’re signing as their power of attorney. Instead of them telling us to clean our room, we’re sitting with them in a hospital room or moving them into an assisted living room. Instead of them changing our diapers, we’re changing theirs.
Yet somehow in the midst of the stress and the grief, there is the calm realization that this is a blessed way to express our gratitude. And it’s a beautiful way to imitate Jesus.
Even Christ had an earthly caregiver role. On the cross, He made sure his friend John would see to his mother’s care. It was the inverse of a parent making sure minor children would be raised in a loving home after the parents’ death.
Dear Caregivers, I know it’s hard. I know it’s draining physically, emotionally, financially, and, yes, even spiritually. Press on. This is an act of worship. This is following in the footsteps of a Savior who:
- actively loved without expecting anything in return.
- did everything to the glory of God the Father.
- interceded physically and continues to intercede spiritually.
- honored His parents.
- gave His best when we were at our worst.
- meets us in our suffering.
- will restore all things one day–broken bodies and broken minds included.