Posted by: wordofthevine | November 22, 2012

Is Caregiving a Virtue?

Lorrie and her mom

Is caregiving a virtue?

The description “Virtuous” is not something I’ve used to describe myself.  My mother?  Oh yes!  She spent a lifetime demonstrating kindness, patience, temperance, charity, selflessness, and respect.Her witness to Catholic faith through prayer, worship, tithing, stewardship, and love demonstrate virtue.  The image of her virtuously kneeling nightly beside her bed is of great strength to me.  Acts of love.

It is a great sorrow that with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) she has little interest in her 30 minutes of Morning Prayer, reading the Bible, or participating in the sacraments, and long ago this disease robbed her ability to attend Mass. This mainstay in her life will never again hold the comfort and security it offered for 75 years.  This milestone accompanied her need for daily care and thus, my new career.  Preparing meals, grocery shopping, and driving everywhere quickly became help bathing and dressing, handling all her business, and toileting assistance.Acts of love.

As a card carrying member of the Sandwich Generation, I know first- hand the demands of mothering two college students and a teen boy, being a loving wife, assisting my mother-in-law through hip replacement, working part time, maintaining two households, daily caregiving for my  mother in her home, and remaining active in our parish.  All acts of love.

These acts of love take a toll on my person, my family, my career, and my faith life.I tend to burn out becauseI lack personal time, solitude, restful sleep and life balance.  The agape my mother and God have for me is sometimes difficult to truly feel for her.  I’m caught up in not having control of my life or time.  I‘m resentful by the third phone call from Mom when enroute to see her.  I feel agitated scrounging around for help with my own home so I can attend to Mom’s needs, and just writing about this brings me to tears.  I love her dearly but how do I know I’m acting in love as God calls me to do?

Do you ever wonder if your efforts lead you to a more virtuous life?  Are our acts of love virtuous in and of themselves? With solitude and prayer, I see the fruits of the Spirit gifting me with increasing patience, selflessness, temperance, respectfulness, and I realize I am turning into my mother. I am changed.

That is God’s act of love to me.~Lorrie

Lorrie Erusha

 


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