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Denizens of Facebook probably know the “wat lady” meme. It is used to express surprise bordering on incredulity. (Sorry, enough running wild with words. It means that something seems ridiculous.)
One thing that can take care givers down emotionally (and, along with that, physically and spiritually) is the seeming meaninglessness of our efforts. Long, stinky seasons that don’t seem to change anything for the better.
But on my couch with that new ring, I cried hard. I cried because it was in my parents that we were seeing the sickness and the worse. I hated it. I hated their sadness. I hated that it was happening to them. But I also cried because I felt lucky. Here was my husband, knowing what we know, saying, “Screw the worst. I’m here to love you forever.” I cried because it was from my parents that we were learning that kind of love.
It’s a heartbreaking lesson. And a beautiful one.
Others do see the sacrifices, strength, endurance, patience, faithfulness and other qualities that caregivers have to draw upon. And, even when we are broken and the thought of having impact seems like a big “wat?” to our wrung out souls, the good that we do can be blessing other lives.
One of the Bible’s pictures of “final judgment” includes the fact that neither the good or the wicked, the caring or the careless, realized what they were putting out into the world. Confronted with the record of their lives, they all alike said, “Wat?”
“Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:37-46 ESV)
It is one of our contentions here that care giving is holy work. In more specific language of our faith, it is “Christlike.” It isn’t about feeling good or being free of doubts and even days of despair. Rather it is sacrifice (often ugly in the moment) that busts the goodness of God into a hurting world.
We believe that there are blessings to come, even if our first response to them is likely to be, “Wat?”