Tim grabbed a book to pass the airplane hours on a recent trip. It was Gangster Squad by Paul Lieberman, a bit of history from our hometown, L.A.
The author relied heavily on the memories of retired LAPD Sergeant Jack O’Mara. Toward the end of the book, Lieberman writes about Jack and his wife, Connie, in their final years,
“When Connie had her stroke he cared for her at home, lifting her in and out of bed and keeping her clean, doing everything, until he got weak, too, with lymphoma. Only then did he allow her to be taken to a nursing home, where he visited every day…
“I had kept in touch through Connie’s illness and death, convinced that his caring for her was his finest act as a man – far beyond anything he did with a gun.”
That’s some tribute. O’Mara was part of a squad that successfully prevented organized crime from gaining a foothold in L.A., yet his biographer saw care giving as Jack’s greatest heroism.
Care givers aren’t often portrayed as heroic. We can seem like newly divorced people, or like the sick or disabled people in our care – others don’t want to get too close, afraid that our struggles might be contagious.
We need to throw our own parade. Not a celebration of arrogance or self-righteousness, just the occasional affirmation that our care giving is a good thing. Heroic, even.
We envision this blog as a place to affirm and encourage (OK, and to whine from time to time). We don’t intend to preach. But it seems worthwhile, for discussion’s sake, to mention that our faith helps us find affirmation when our work doesn’t look or feel heroic: “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (The Bible, New International Version, Hebrews 6:10).
Where do you find affirmation of your care giving? Who throws your parade?