Who Cares for the Givers of Care?
It has been on my heart and mind for a long time, having experienced and still experiencing, the changing ways we can meet the constant need of care givers. I am sure that there are many support groups that meet in person as well as on the internet, I have no real experience to draw from. However, the question looms in my mind, "Where is the Church?"
Perhaps many local places of worship have groups meeting there who try and support each other as they provide care for someone they love. The heart breaking realization I have had is that the Church is so busy trying to do a lot of things, expecting people to come to them, or perhaps even promoting in some way that training is needed or desired before people engage in caring for others. In the course of this, I have also seen where there are many people who give words or maybe write checks when the commodity that is most desired by caregivers is being cared for. Time is the biggest gift in my experience that is most appreciated as a caregiver.
I can't get out of the house as we care for someone in our home, so when someone mentions a group meeting, that feels like the last thing I want to do. While I am sure there are benefits to this, for me it feels heavy and in some ways impersonal, and in other ways frightening. I recognize that not all caregivers have the same needs or desires, caregiving situations are as unique as the people involved--those receiving care and those giving care.
In our society, we get so busy and we don't make time to walk with people through this hard time, which varies in duration. I feel challenged in the care giving season not to be focused on the season, what I perceive as unmet needs, but instead focusing on relationships with someone who cares. I have been blessed with that person, and I believe that we, the Church, need to be seriously praying and looking for ways to meet the many needs of caregivers--ways that are expedient and not patterned like "social" non-living entities such as the government. We need to find ways to move swiftly to meet a need, give a listening ear, a hug, a helping hand, or whatever the need is. We must be able to be free to come alongside those caregivers in a way that encourages them in the most arduous journey of their lives.