Cared for by those in our care

In his college days, Tim attended a big downtown church.  This was back in carefree days before he ever had a thought about “care giving.”  But he noticed that every Sunday, a dented, rust spotted van brought a group of “different” people to the church.  They were residents of a special needs group home.

At a high point of the service, the whole congregation would gather around a raised central platform and altar, and sing the ancient hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy.”  Most of the people would let the choir carry it, even though all were supposed to be singing out to God.  Most heads were bowed down into hymnals or leaflets, trying to get the notes right and playing it safe by doing a kind of musical mumble.

Except for the special needs bunch from the beat up van. They would look up and bellow, all way off key and each in a personal melody that had zero to do with the sheet music.    And Sunday after glorious Sunday, they taught Tim to get over his twitchy churchy nervous inhibition and really open his heart in worship.  They were doing it right, and by just being themselves they took care of Tim’s soul.

Decades later, our autistic son, Joey, is amused by grumpy male voices.  Disney villains crack him up.  He likes Mr. MacGregor in the BBC version of Peter Rabbit.  And he laughs at Tim, stumbling around pre-coffee and growling “Bad dog” when Lily, our Lab, gets underfoot.  (Not sure if the movie characters remind him of Tim or if Tim reminds him of the characters.)

Our son’s chuckling is a constant reminder that stuff that seems urgent and agitating can be shrunk down to just goofy.   His laughter cares for us, even at times when he’s the one raising our blood pressure.

How about you?  Do the ones in your care teach you stuff?  Do they bring out qualities you didn’t know you had?  In what ways do they take care of you?

6 thoughts on “Cared for by those in our care

  1. I remember caring for my first wife as she battled renal cell carcinoma. I would keep track of her medications and give her the Interferon injections. She would often ask why I just didn’t divorce her and make a new life for myself. This was said half jestingly and have seriously. I would always respond with “Who else would put up with me?” So we cared for each other in our own ways.

    Toward the end, she asked me, “Who will take care of you when I’m gone?” I reassured her that God would look after me just as he always had. That was more a statement of faith. But she seemed content with it. Those were some precious moments that broke my heart but let me know how much she loved me.

    • Allen, thank you for sharing that. Those in our care give so much – but it doesn’t travel straight lines. Reminds me of Jesus’ words about the path to real life being hard to find and stay on instead of wide and easy.

  2. People often ask how I do it(take care of my daughter) or state that they don’t think they could “do it.” Little do they know, Sarah brought with her the gift of patience so that I could do it. In fact, Sarah brought several gifts to us–patience, fortitude, stubbornness, smiles and lots of love.

    • “Stubbornness” – yes indeed, some of the gifts come strangely packaged, but they turn out to be the ones we need. I was telling some folks that “leadership” involves getting people out of a familiar place, across and uncomfortable place, into a better place. Those in our care “lead” us in surprising ways.

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