Contributor: Ebony Taylor
Today I’m taking over the blog, and there will be a divergence from your normally scheduled programming. Dr. Taylor will be back tomorrow with a post on self-control, and I definitely recommend that you check it out! However, I wanted to take a moment to talk about Dr. Taylor’s new book which deals with the emotions that a caregiver goes through. It isn’t finished yet, so I haven’t had the pleasure to read it, but as someone who was around to witness (firsthand) the experiences of both of my parents — caregiver and patient — I know that it will be an insightful look into what my mother personally dealt with as a caregiver, but it will also be an authoritative approach in how to face the problems that come with caregiving from a biblical worldview. I’m looking forward to it, and you should be too!
As the child of a caregiver, and the child of a sick parent, I believe that I have something to add to the conversation. Particularly I want to use my moment of blog hijacking to address what I’ve learned about the whole process during the past eight years. I don’t have the space to talk about everything, so I will focus on just one: faithfulness. This is a letter to my father.
A memory of you: Our front yard in the house in Maryland was an acre? a half-acre? Whatever it was, it was long, and in the winter when we were wrapped in layers of clothes it was exhausting to climb. I remember once when the snow was high and our sleds wouldn’t really slide, I got bored halfway down and didn’t feel like climbing back up to the house. I was seven, I think.
I remember looking up to where you were at the top of the hill. I don’t know what you were thinking, but you started running towards me. Running because I was standing still in the snow and not walking back up. I wasn’t hurt. I wasn’t even that cold. I just didn’t want to walk. But you ran. That’s what I’m most proud of — that my father always ran towards me. Not once have I been afraid that this wouldn’t be my truth. I’ve always known that if I even looked like I might possibly be just barely hurt you would run.
Thinking about us (you and me, father and daughter), I think it’s easy to focus on the imperfections. I think that, “I complained because I had to eat pizza every day for a week since dad was in the hospital. I shouldn’t have done that.” I probably shouldn’t have, but that’s why this post is about faithfulness. The faithfulness of our mutual father who is the God of the Universe.
These eight years have taught me that his faithfulness will always cover our inadequacies. 2 Timothy 2: 13 says, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself.” For me this is a symbol of his grace. I think that other people (you know, the ones on the outside…the ones who aren’t in the know) believe when you have a sick parent that it’s all crying and gratefulness and that you spend each and every moment basking in each other’s presence. We know the secret though. We know that it isn’t like that. Illness doesn’t conquer human nature. We still disagree, we still get annoyed, and we fail to love properly. But we also know the other secret: that God is faithful. And because he is faithful we don’t have to be perfect. Because he is faithful, he covers our failures in his grace.
When we focus on God’s faithfulness, there isn’t a reason to regret, to feel inadequate, to meditate on our failures because nothing we’ve done is of our own strength anyway. One of my favorite scriptures comes from Jeremiah 31:3, where it says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Focus on His faithfulness and His love, and then thank him that you have the best daughters on the planet.
I’ll close with my favorite scripture which is just barely related:
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.