I am finally recovering from a week of influenza and it feels so good to be upright! I was literally down for the count for a week, laying in bed, slowly walking to the sofa or dining table, and back to bed. I hate being sick, feeling dependent on others, and not having my normal energy and routine.
My husband was a champ! He made me food, did the dishes and laundry, and took excellent care of me. I told him how much I appreciated him taking care of me, and he said, “You’re always taking care of me and would do the same for me. It’s not a big deal.” While it’s true that it may not have been a big deal to him, it meant a great deal to me. When you are naturally a caregiver, it’s interesting to see it from the other side.
When you are constantly taking care of others, of the household, of your children, etc., you can easily get irritated or feel a little bit resentful. “Gah! I just vacuumed and you’re tracking dirt everywhere!” “Ugh! Sweaty, gross gym clothes to wash and they are laying on top of my outfit in the laundry basket and getting it all stinky!” And of course you’ll make eggs for breakfast when you’d much rather make banana pecan waffles topped with strawberries and blueberries because you know he’d prefer the protein.
I generally don’t complain about the inconveniences (OK, other than the tracking in dirt!), because caring means that you are doing these things out of love. And really, it’s not hard to do any of it, and it really isn’t a sacrifice. It’s just the way it works for your family. Everybody has to do their part to make their family life work. Maybe your family dynamic is different, and you’re the main breadwinner, and someone else has more time for the household. Or maybe you are responsible for everything yourself. Everybody has to participate in making life work.
But working joyfully, and cheerfully giving, that decision is up to you. I can tell you that life is happier, you are happier when you move through life with a happy heart. Is life always easy? Do things always go perfectly according to your plans? Of course not! We all have worries and concerns. Maybe you are struggling financially, maybe someone you love and care for is sick, or injured, or dying. Maybe you just feel like life is beating you down. We have all been there. Everyone has struggles. How we face those struggles is the question.
Do you think that you have to carry the burden alone? On the surface, it may appear to you that you do. But you don’t. There is always someone you can talk to, someone who will listen, someone who will lighten the load.
Talk to God, talk to Jesus. Surrender your heart, look, and listen for the little spark of joy. There is beauty and happiness everywhere. What are you grateful for? What can you do for others? What small look, gentle touch, gesture of friendship or love can you give? Because that is the secret. Opening your heart to God, praying and listening for His voice. Giving of ourselves, rather than just focusing on what we “deserve”, what I think the world “owes” me. Be grateful to the one who gives us all the opportunity for everlasting life.
And don’t forget to say thank you to the people God has placed in your life. The ones who take the time to care for, or be kind to you. Pet the cute kitty who snuggled you while you were sick. Hug the loving husband who kept you fed when you didn’t have the strength to make your own meal. And talk to God, open your heart, feed your soul. Be grateful for whatever crazy, wonderful life you have.