I recently attended a conference on caring for those with Alzheimer’s. The presenter was a very compassionate person as well as a gifted and engaging speaker. I am sure that her abundance of joy and energy grew from her ability to use her gifts and charisms to their fullest. It was a day well spent; filled with tips and strategies that were built on love.
At one point I remembered thinking how lucky her parents were to have her in their lives… to help them live until they die; rather than spending life waiting to die. On a personal level, she shared that even though her own dad had attended her conferences and knew what she had to offer (as a nurse and as an expert in the field of Alzheimer’s), it was not she who he turned to for assistance as he aged.
All families have strained relationships and even though you are able to work through issues and forgive; the past often cannot be forgotten and in some cases, remains a barrier to having the perfect relationship with everyone you love. Her advice to those in the room was…you are off the hook. Do not beat yourself up if you do not help, even though you may be the logical and most qualified person.
These may be wise and accurate words, but for those with a tender heart; whose gifts are caring and nurturing, it is difficult to sit on the sideline and watch. For my sister who once was a nurse and who may be more qualified than me to care for my dad who has Alzheimer’s, these words do not ease her pain of not being the caregiver-of-choice for dad. However, her gifts will be the grace needed to help the father of her close friend who is battling cancer. God put her in the lives of those He wanted her to touch with her gifts and charism. It is not hers to question or doubt.
Last year, my 104 year grandmother (who lived 3 hours away) did not die alone; my aunt and other volunteers remained by her side till the end. It was a comfort to know someone was with her. I only wish it could have been me. As a Hospice Volunteer, I occasionally sit with total strangers so they too, will not die alone. I may not have been able to use my gifts with my grandmother but I was able to use them with a member of God’s family. The conference speaker was not able to use her gifts for her own father; yet many like my own father, benefited greatly from her gift shared with me at the conference.
It is a very humbling experience to be in the presence of Christ through the people we serve. Even more so to trust and go where He calls us, rather than where WE think we need to be. ~Brenda