“The Blessing Of Compassionate Caregivers”
Message summary: What a blessing caregivers are!
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“God places the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6).
Brooksyne had an interesting experience yesterday while sitting in the hospital with Ester.
Ester was admitted to Hershey Medical Center due to her very elevated INR (over 15.7) after we took her to the Emergency Room late Monday afternoon, as explained in a footnote to yesterday’s message. We expect and certainly hope she will be discharged today (Wednesday) since the high dosage of Vitamin K had an excellent effect and dropped her number down to 6 which is still elevated but not as critical as before.
Yesterday afternoon a social worker for her insurance company stopped by and asked Ester some questions. It was awkward for Ester to answer some of the questions so the woman looked to me. After I explained Ester’s medical reason for being treated at the hospital she asked, “After she has left the hospital will there be someone who can look after her?” I replied without hesitation, “Of course, I’m her mom!” Thinking that my role as mom would explain it all, the woman grew quiet and then her eyes teared up. After a brief pause she explained her emotional reaction to me, “There are fewer patients I visit in a hospital who have someone to look after them than those who do. In fact most of my patients have no one visit them while they are admitted to the hospital.”
I wasn’t fully surprised by this woman’s comment since I spent many months at a time with Ester during her lengthy heart surgeries and complicated recoveries as an infant and young child. In a few cases a baby or child would be left for weeks or months with only medical personnel caring for their extensive medical needs, though occasionally a volunteer would visit. One nurse said, “Some of the parent(s) say ‘give me a call when they’re ready to be picked up’, treating the hospital like a day care or more like a summer camp setting.”
Yesterday’s visitor was originally from Africa and made this statement, “Back where I come from we look after our own.” I told her that at one time our country was like that as well before the breakdown of families became so prevalent. Her words saddened my heart and reminded me of my blessing of having loving parents who loved and cared for me. Theirs was not a conflict free marriage, but they worked it out over the years and I’m so thankful they did. Mom cared for Daddy 24/7 the last six weeks of his life as he struggled with the awful effects of cancer. He died on Feb. 17, 2000, twenty years ago this Sunday. Mom had cancer as well but lived another 18 months and we children looked after her until God called her home in October 29, 2001.
Today many of us know the blessing of having those around us who love and care for us, although we may easily take it for granted. Yesterday I had my annual wellness examination. Among the questions asked were, “Do you have someone to care for you?” What a blessing that I could say without hesitation, “Yes, I do”.
Some readers have special needs and are dependent on a caregiver, others have assumed that special caregiver role. What choice people these caregivers are! I consider today a friend whose wife had a severe brain injury and he has taken on a role he probably never imagined but he’s done so with excellence.
But as the social worker shared with Brooksyne, so many do not have caregivers; they are lonely and needy. It really hurts to consider that likely some reading this are in that situation. It may be that you are separated from your companion or soul-mate by death. Perhaps you’ve been abandoned by an unfaithful spouse, or are dealing with estranged children. I don’t minimize your pain even though it is not presently my experience. Here are several considerations:
- Lean heavily upon the steadfast love of the Lord that never ceases. You will find Him to be a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24b).
- If you aren’t already, become active in a local Bible-believing church with a caring pastor and congregation. For even closer relationships join a small group fellowship.
- Often the quickest way to end loneliness is to reach out to another who has a need. When we put others’ needs first, God has a way of fulfilling our own inner need.
- If you’re lonely due to past hurts and you remain guarded, seek God for healing and start giving of yourself again to cultivate a friendship. After all, Scripture says, “He who wants to make friends must show himself to be friendly” (Proverbs 18:24a). Take the first step by extending yourself as a friend; if a friendship is not reciprocated, reach out to another.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, it was Your plan from the beginning to set the lonely in families. We were to be nurtured and cared for by those who brought us into the world and over time we ourselves would be the ones who nurture. But with the breakdown of family settings along with many other difficult circumstances that can arise in one’s life there are many lonely, hurting people in the world. As compassionate believers we want to represent Your loving hand extended to those wounded by life’s circumstances. We want to become a friend to the friendless and show them Your love by valuing who they are, taking time to listen to their needs, and responding as You lead us in this most worthy endeavor. Help us we pray through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.