Caregivers…YOU are a gift

You are seen…you are heard…appreciated, valued, loved…overworked, overwhelmed…precious, gifted, treasured… You have the most difficult job that I know.  You are a caregiver.

Caregivers rarely get credit, accolades, recognition.  They are often the unseen gifts, left unopened on Christmas morning, but the most valuable of anything under the tree.  Those you care for often are not able to express their gratitude.  For those that care for family with memory loss, there is most often no ability by their loved one to say thank you and sometimes comes out as hatefulness instead.  For those that care for the dying, it is all your loved ones can do to take the next breath and speaking thanks just isn’t an option.  For those that are there, day in and day out, with children of mental disabilities, they do not have the capacity to understand that sacrifice and love you are giving (although they KNOW deep down they are loved by you).  It is most often a thankless, unseen, underappreciated place in life.  But it is also the most COURAGEOUS act.

It takes courage to get up each day to love and care for others.  There are days that seem to drag on with demands that are too much.  There are moments that you just need to find your own breath.  And as much as I talk about taking a break, many of you simply do not have the option of taking time for yourself.  You are consumed by the position you fill.

All of that being said…I want you to hear “THANK YOU”.  Thank you for your sacrifice.  Thank you for giving of your life to care for those that you love and that love you.  Thank you for the moments you could have spent on yourself and instead, you gave of yourself.  Thank you for the times when you were having to do difficult tasks in the face of much opposition but you carried on because you loved so very much. Thank you for loving with your whole self…with all you had to give…and still giving.  Thank you!  YOU are a gift.

And…YOU are seen.  We see you…mom that is caring for children that will never be able to care for themselves… Dads that are taking care of moms that have lost the ability to function…  Children that are caring for parents that can no longer call their names and don’t recognize your face any longer… Families that are taking turns feeding and clothing and bathing… Friends that sit at bedsides so families can find some sense of rest… WE SEE YOU.  And YOU are a gift.

As a pastor and grief counselor, I have the privilege to watch caregivers at work. They are often quiet, unnoticed, and simply doing what they know needs to be done.  But they are there…loving when loving is the toughest.  And I couldn’t be more grateful for those that love like this.  My prayer is that God renews the strength of those that are caring for others.  May God hold up those that do not know if they can carry on.  May God fill these servants with peace.  May God wrap them with love.  And may God remind them that they are seen and we are grateful.

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