Reality can seem like a harsh word. It often reflects the gap between what we would like life to be like and the actual circumstances of life. In March of 2009 I wrote about what reality had come to mean in my husband’s life and in my life as his caregiver.
I wrote the following: “The reality I daily face is seeing my husband continue to have to use his walker for basically almost every step he takes. Reality is my husband sleeping 9-10 hours a night and still dozing in his chair during the day. Reality is that my husband’s speech is so poor that communication between us is very difficult. Reality is very seldom seeing a smile on my husband’s face. Reality is that there will most likely come a day in the future when I will not be able to take care of him by myself. Reality is that life is not like it was for many many years of our married life. Reality is seeing this disease slowly taking more and more from my husband’s ability to function in this world. Reality is discouraging sometimes.”
As I mentioned before my above comments were journaled in March of 2009. Reality in actuality became even harsher. Before my husband’s death in early 2011 his mobility and a host of other issues declined even more. By that time my husband had graduated to a wheelchair, and we needed a lift to transfer him from place to place.
Even in March of 2009 I knew that there was another reality in place also, however. In that same journal post I wrote the following: “Reality, however, also is knowing that I am not in this alone. My Lord and God is with me every step of the way. He will give me the strength and courage to press on. My Lord God will continue to add many blessings in my life also. Reality further is knowing that there are many people who care about us and are praying for us. They can not begin to fully understand, but they do care.”
Caregiving was the task that God had given me to do. It was not the task or life for which I had aspired. The life of my dreams and which I had envisioned was much different than reality. I am sure the same is true for you also, dear Caregiver. The gap between what we envision and reality as we live it forces us to run to God. Our Lord God is our great Reality. He is unchanging. He also loves us and promises to never leave us alone.
It is also God who places us where we are in life. Even in the challenges and grief of care giving caregivers are right where they belong. They are doing what God has called them to do. In the measure they accept and receive this set of circumstances humbly, quietly, and thankfully they will be blessed; for they are indeed doing God’s work!