Sometimes Care Giving Stinks assumes that taking care of people with special needs or disabilities is often unpleasant work. And work that is unpleasant can be deflating or even depressing. We doubt our impact, competence and value.
January 27th is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Hitler’s effort to infuse his nation with a sense of value as a “master race” led to the complete devaluation and destruction of millions, including people like those in our care,
The Reich Government has passed the following law, which is announced herewith:
(1.) Anyone who is suffering from a hereditary disease can be sterilized by a surgical operation if, according to the experiences of medical science, it is to be expected with great probability that his offspring will suffer from serious hereditary physical or mental defects.
(2.) Anyone who suffers from one of the following is to be regarded as inheritably diseased within the meaning of this law:
1. congenital feeble-mindedness
3. Circular [manic-depression] lunacy
4. hereditary epilepsy
5. inheritable St. Vitus dance(Huntington’s Chorea)
6. hereditary blindness
7. hereditary deafness
8. serious hereditary physical malformations
(3.) Furthermore, persons suffering from chronic alcoholism may also be sterilized.
The work that you do – the sacrifices of your preferences and pleasures, the trials and many errors on behalf of others, the willingness to have your heart broken over and over – is true resistance against the evil that always stalks the world.
The work that you do – investing yourself in lives that the world too easily classifies as “not contributing to society” or “not meaningful” – is part of a complex expression of human compassion that stands in the way of zealous madness and folly.
Evil can appear attractive and robust while compassion, in forms like care giving, looks haggard and weak. The ancient Prophets of the Jewish people understood this, and told the world that the true servant of God would be someone who
had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:2-3 ESV)
What you do, even when it stinks, is an expression of humanity’s choice between good and evil. Today let us mourn and honor the victims of the Holocaust, and let our lives be devoted to the inefficient, clumsy and unattractive love that mocks the “great” people and powers that inflicted evil on them and that afflict the world today.