CHARLOTTE, NC: Blessed are the meek. And those who are caregivers to ALS victims. Chapter 5, Verse 5 of the Book of Matthew in the King James Bible reads “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Unless, of course, you happened to be related to Aretha Franklin, who left no will or controlling trust for her $80 million estate. The lack of a will in Michigan means that the state can take up to 40% of the singer’s estate for money over $11.2 million.
The great singer apparently followed the opposite of another adage and believed, “Where there’s no will, there’s no way.” But I digress.
The meek shall inherit the earth
Jack Jobis wrote a poem about the people who should really “inherit the earth.” The caregivers who devote so much of their time and energy to assisting infirmed and broken people in order that they, too, may have some semblance of a normal life.
Jobis words are both strong and powerful:
With grace, they steadfastly fulfill a caregiver role,
That for most others would resemble a black hole.
They cheerfully prop me up, and will never complain,
Shrugging off their own emotional and physical pain.
Performing hideous tasks of the lowest servitude,
Never allowed respite, no matter circumstance or mood.
Their identity subjugated, like a thief in the night,
In the midst of darkness, they assure I’ve got light.
They allow me to feel normal, in the most abnormal state,
Sparing me embarrassment and burden, humanizing my fate.
Their ambitions set aside, subservient to just one,
That my life possess quality, and maybe even fun.
Ensuring my dignity, they avoid an ironic trap,
Never acknowledging that I am now their own handicap.
Paul, the apostle, wrote of love’s holy essence and virtue,
But the caregiver to the stricken is the example most true.
The gifts of dedicated caregivers are intangible.
They are not only amazing, selfless as well. They go about their business in relative anonymity, performing daily tasks that can often be undignified for both the patient and themselves.
They do their tasks willingly, never complaining. They tolerate our frustrations, anxieties and outbursts of anger when once-normal aspects of our lives become too difficult to accomplish.
As Jack Jobis puts it,
“(Caregivers) see the person, not the disease. They see the hero-in-making, not the infirmed. They dispense hope, not tragedy. They ease the burden of lugging a disabling affliction on one’s back, 24/7; they don’t add to it. My debt to my caregivers is incalculable.”
No amount of compassion is too small. In fact, sometimes it is the tiniest measure of aid that means the most; helping us get up from a chair, feeding us food so we don’t dribble it all over ourselves, opening doors or, even, just being patient long enough to complete a simple task in a world filled with instant gratification and self-centered focus.
Caregivers to ALS victims – ease the burdens of battle.
They encourage us to fight even during times when everything seems dark and hopeless. They have empathy, urging us never to surrender, never allowing us to wallow in a “pity party” for our so-called “misfortunes.”
Most of all, they are cheerful, even when we don’t want to be. They encourage us not to be discouraged, remembering always that the root word following the prefix, be it positive or negative, is always “courage.”
They are motivators. They do not allow us to see that we are down three runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Rather they tell us that the bases are loaded and even though the count is 3 and 2, one swing of the bat will win the game.
That’s because their “isms” are always “optim.” (If that wasn’t a word before, it is now) It is truly a blessing disguised only by their anonymous personas that are visible to patients, but typically go unnoticed by others.
The limitless compassion of caregivers
From professionals to untrained, often unknown, unskilled individuals, the range of compassion is limitless and always appreciated no matter what level. Way back in 1945 the Cooperative for American Remittance to Europe (CARE) was formed to send food relief to large numbers of people who were starving following World War II.
Today, more than 7 decades later, we have morphed into also providing “caregiver packages” for people with disabilities who are struggling to live their lives as normally as possible.
In so-doing, these caregivers relinquish significant portions of their own “normalcy” in order to give to others. It’s a rather one-sided proposition given that the recipient has few ways to return the favors. Yes, this is benevolence at its highest level for nothing is expected in return.
Caregiving equals love
Another definition of caregiving is the simple four letter word “love” in every conceivable iteration.
In the First Epistle to the Corinthians 13:7, Jobis notes that love
“always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
You see, caregiving is, indeed, the ultimate “labor of love.”
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor is an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor isthe founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
Editors Note: Support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up