Giving Care

Unexpected Shift as Cottage Gate Caregiver

My parents have a regular rotation of paid caregivers who come to their house and help with cooking, cleaning, running errands, and managing my Dad’s Parkinson’s Disease. Unfortunately, one of the caregivers had to call in sick for today, so I ended up getting pressed into service for most of the day. And sadly, it ended up being a pretty rough day for my Dad.

He seemed to be having a really hard time getting his leg muscles to cooperate with the rest of him, leading to several slow falls and near-falls. Yet, at the same time, he didn’t rest well. He kept trying to get up, and I’d ask, “Where do you want to go, Dad?”

He’d respond by saying, “Heaven.” I think he was half-joking, half-serious.

Unexpected Shift as Cottage Gate Caregiver

He didn’t take any long naps, which didn’t allow me to do much except tend to him. It was just a very hands-on day that I wasn’t emotionally prepared to have (especially heading into a very hands-on event for my job, with H2O’s ManMaker conference).

It’s challenging to care for my Mom on days like these, too. She’s dealing with the challenges of aging in her own ways. We had a doctor’s appointment for her in the morning, and it seems like she’s dealing with a lot of Stress and Depression, in addition to the physical challenges of her Multiple Sclerosis.

Unexpected Shift as Cottage Gate Caregiver

At this point in my life, I’ve gotten used to dealing with the everyday adventures of marriage and parenthood and ministry. Even when it’s a more stressful season of work, with four sermons in four weeks, and our February women’s and men’s retreats, and special situations requiring extra pastoral care, I’ve figured out ways to get through things one day at a time. But I haven’t yet figured out how to account for this “second job,” or new level of family responsibilities, in caring for my aging parents. It’s kind of kicking my butt.

Still, I’m finding solace in reading the early chapters of Genesis these days. I’m weirdly comforted by their graphic depiction of the world’s brokenness. It just jives with the world I’m living in, as sad as it is, and there’s something reassuring about the fact that none of our struggles are a surprise to God. I can easily drift into some sort of “Savior Complex,” imagining that it’s up to me to beat back all the chaos of the world around me. But Genesis reminds me that this way of thinking is so quixotic. So small-minded (even though it feels so grandiose, inside my own head).

I want to keep trusting God to bring order to the chaos. So help me, God.

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