Care for the caregiver

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

Knowing that divine Love is the infinite caregiver is indispensable to anyone who is caring for a parent, a friend, or others professionally.

Can a human caregiver practically rely on this divine help even when he or she is feeling burdened or worn out? Yes, because God, Love, never comes to the end of a rope where patience, compassion, and resilience have reached their limit.

As a caregiver, I have seen that understanding that Love is caring for everyone makes a better caregiver, leaving one free to trust God to show the right way to give care. It also opens the way for the individual needing care to be receptive and responsive to Love's provision of care.

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Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, explained the significance of the Lord's Prayer in her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." She wrote: ¨Our Master taught his disciples one brief prayer, which we name after him the Lord's Prayer. Our Master said, 'After this manner therefore pray ye,' and then he gave that prayer which covers all human needs" (p. 16). A prayer that meets all human needs is a prayer for the caregiver.

Even pondering just the first line of the prayer, ¨Our Father which art in heaven," leads to a fresh view of giving care. Mrs. Eddy's helpful spiritual interpretation of this clear, simple acknowledgment reads, "Our Father-Mother God, all- harmonious." To me, God as Father-Mother means that God is the source of both care-giver and the one receiving care.

If this is true, then God is the source of strength, inspiration, joy, and peace. No one is responsible for giving these to another, and no one can take them from another. They flow from an inexhaustible source available for everyone to claim as one's own and to express without limitation.

It gives me hope as a caregiver to know that this infinite Father-Mother caregiver is ¨all-harmonious.¨ This infinite source, supplying right ideas that meet every human need, is a present and alive goodness that infuses thought, word, and action.

These ideas helped me when, for a period of time, I struggled with helping a woman of mature years who was unable to get ready for bed by herself. She was resisting the care, and if she felt pushed, things came to a halt. Although I would finally finish helping her, there was always a residue of frustration and unhappiness for both of us.

As I prayed, I discovered that we weren't merely trying to accomplish a task. I could see that God was directing both of us. God knew her need and mine – to feel that we were living and moving in Love's powerful presence. Through this release of trying to figure out the care, I had the intuition to put out things that she needed for care one at a time and then leave the room. Then I'd return and get her started with something else. Eventually she was ready to get into bed happily. It took longer, but she was participating in a way that made sense to her.

It's a comfort to know that if we are at the end of our rope, it's time to step back, and in humility begin again with the unending source of Love.

Humble yourselves
therefore under the mighty
hand of God,
that he may exalt you
in due time:
Casting all your care
upon him;
for he careth for you.
I Peter 5:6, 7

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