The truth is going to sound wacky, pompous and neurotic.
But I’ll lead with the truth and then list some more palatable stuff.
The truth is that I was in the park with our son, Joey, who lives with autism. His slightly older, neurotypical (aka “normal” or at least NOT living with autism) brother had just driven away to start college. I was praying, which was easy as it was a gorgeous day. Obviously, my heart was full – memories of the kids over the years, hopes for what would come – so I was pouring that kind of stuff out to God.
Not audibly, mind you. The other parents were not telling their kids, “Honey, come over here, away from that strange man.”
And just as surely as I was speaking to God, God spoke back, not in a audible voice (I’m only neurotic, not psychotic yet), but in a thought that flooded my mind and overflowed into my heart: You can write a book that helps other family caregivers.
I knew right away that I would be writing in the midst of care giving, not from past experience. The book would never be The Five Essential Habits of Excellent Caregivers or something like that. Rather,
- I wrote it so that people confined by the demands of care giving would find companionship, at least in the stories I tell but hopefully beyond them in the divine, “patient gardener” who has helped me beyond what I could ask or imagine;
- I wrote it so that stressed out people could laugh. You have to find the humor, dark though it might be, to keep going as a caregiver.
- I wrote it to process my own inner stuff. As I said, I wrote it while care giving, not after. And so it was a combination of meditation and therapy for me as much as for any potential reader.
- I wrote it because I enjoy writing. It is a gift I have to share and, frankly, I communicate better through writing than any other means. Well, except yelling or crying and stuff like that.
A long time friend shared this lovely pic of the book on a desk where he studies and prays. I pray and hope that this little book serves God by helping family caregivers in the depths of their hearts.