A few years ago a friend and former co-worker became a caretaker for her elderly neighbor who lived in what we would call debilitating circumstances. No one asked my friend. She just thought it was her responsibility. She saw the need and gave of her time, experience, encouragement, and herself to help stave off the further deterioration of a person struggling with basic living needs and physical disabilities. Each time she shared with me what took place during the visits with her neighbor, I realized my friend was developing a two pronged relationship as a caregiver and as a friend.
I am sure all of us know care givers. There are professionals who offer their entire lives to giving physical, mental and spiritual care. There are non-professionals who offer various types of care with fellowship, chocolate chip cookies, prayer, rides to the doctor, a personal note, a few dollars, a listening ear, filling out forms, painting a neighbor's house, or repairing a car. I could continue this list for several pages and still not cover all the acts of care giving that are needed and offered on a daily basis, especially for those of us who have continual, unrelenting disabilities. Like my friend, my caregivers became my friends through our conversations.
Just over 4 years ago, my 18 year relapsing-remitting journey with multiple sclerosis slid quickly into the unrelenting, non-curable progression of this debilitating disease. More care was needed as I switched from walking with a cane to shuffling with a walker to using a wheelchair daily. The members of my church who helped me fill out forms for disability, stretched my lower limbs for years, baked me cookies, prayed for strength for my wife and me, and did many more things than we can count, have become deeper friends through their caretaking and our conversations. We have been blessed by God’s presence as we mutually minister to each other’s “disabilities.” We know he is the provider of our care and comfort today, as well as the reminder of the hope of our eternal physical and spiritual healing.
The ultimate care giver is God. God takes care of us through modeling the love He established in creating us in His image. He modeled care when He sent Christ to earth and instructed His disciples and us to care for each other. He demonstrated this to us by his acts of mercy, comfort, physical and spiritual healing of those with any type of disability. The ultimate act of His care for us was the sacrifice of His Son so that we might be beyond the need for care when we are taken into our new home in heaven.
May all of us continue to find comfort in our God-centered disability ministries, and may all those who are disabled and their caregivers find eternal healing in a personal God-centered relationship with Him.