This weekend, I (Tim) needed care. I wasn’t sick. Well, heartsick maybe. Workplace crud had me down.
Melissa listened. She let me vent the mood, and checked in with me later that night asked if I was doing better.
Joey was in a perky mood and kept me laughing. Empathy is not the strong suit of the autistic, so he wasn’t saying entertaining things just because dad was down. But he helped in his own way, just being Joey.
This shouldn’t be a surprise. I think it is God’s design that some precious return comes back from what we invest in others. Those in our care turn around and take care of us in some unexpected ways.
Teaching about mercy, Jesus said,
“…give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)
When we garden, we dig around in dirt and spread stinky fertilizer, sometimes on hot, nasty days. We get sunburned necks. We aggravate our joints and all the little muscles that never get used except when we garden.
Then the flowers, seemingly without effort, give us their color and fragrance; our fruits and veggies give us flavor and satisfaction. Good measure, filling our gardens, baskets and kitchens.
No, our flowers, fruits and veggies don’t mow the lawn or rake and bag the autumn leaves. What they give back to us isn’t exactly what we give to them. But we come out pretty darn well on the exchange.
Joey doesn’t do housework; Melissa does some that her condition allows. But there’s care giving effort they put into me that is the “good measure.” When stuff has me down, the two people in my care are my care givers.
They’re the ones who can kneel down and nurture something fruitful in the muck of my soul.