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Caring in Times of Sickness

Today’s Reflection

CRITICALLY ILL PEOPLE may experience receiving care as a huge relief. But most people, plunged into this world of receiving care, would say it is so difficult to let go, admit to needing help, and make the long and difficult passage into accepting to be beloved while in a weakened condition. It is only with much time and with loving care that they may be able to come to a new understanding of their blessedness and to realize that there is a gift awaiting them in times of sickness. Despite having to depend more on people who have to care for them because they are physically weak, they may experience becoming fruitful in their very weakness. For example, by gratefully receiving our care they may be revealing something to us that we didn’t know about ourselves – our own gifts of beauty, tenderness, and loving service. Therefore our compassionate caring must always include empathetic awareness of the inner suffering and unique blessedness of those to whom we offer care.

—Henri J. M. Nouwen with John S. Mogabgab
A Spirituality of Caregiving: The Henri Nouwen Spirituality Series (Upper Room Books, 2011)

Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Have you ever discovered previously unknown gifts as a caregiver?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
—Psalm 149:1 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room or share it in the comment section.

Something More

Practice seeing blessings all around you! Upper Room author Beth A. Richardson invites us to practice the Celtic way of seeing God in everyday life. Join our online community for the eCourse edition of Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

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{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Jill August 20, 2019, 5:46 am

    I never saw myself as a caregiver – until thrust in the situation with my mom. I would not say that caregiving is my gift. My sister – absolutely it is. Physically caregiving for my mother stretched me and I am grateful I was able to assist with her care as she wanted to die at home. Now I am emotionally caregiving for my grieving father. This, too, can be intense. This is easier for me, for the most part, as he is usually open to conversation and will speak honestly about his feelings.
    Yesterday morning during golf, we got into a pretty intense conversation about mom. We hadn’t had one of these in several weeks. His poor heart is still hurting deeply. Of course it is. Some of his comments led me to believe that he was having some regrets. But when I asked him about this – he said that he doesn’t have any. He is struggling to remember how things were last Fall. And just never knowing what she was thinking, facing death. Surprisingly – he said “it just wasn’t fair”. This was always mom’s line, not his. I pressed him on this a little and he seemed reluctant to go further…he ultimately said “I didn’t want her to die.” I prayed and continue to pray for wisdom in these situations.
    The storms Julie experienced hit here as well. I was without electricity for 18+ hours yesterday. It remains to be seen what spoiled in my refrigerator. I was reluctant to take on that issue last night.
    Prayers for Lou and all she is experiencing – especially with her youngest child settling in “away” at college. Lou – may the Lord reveal Himself to you in a new and noticeable way in these days ahead. His strength is perfect.

  • robert moeller August 20, 2019, 6:28 am

    Have to think about today’s question. Helped care for Mom for seven years, For many of those years she loved car rides. We became very familiar with the area in which she lived, saw lots of countryside.

    Will see a Grand Trunk New England Lines train expert tomorrow. Besides trains we share some life experiences in the military and in East Asia. His are in the navy, off the coast of Korea and in Japan during the Korean War. Mine are in the army in Korea after the war with a visit to Japan. We both were married overseas and our spouses have passed away. We are 15 years apart, both from New England and our railroads of interest had a relationship as well.

    Thankful for AC on warm humid days. Many prayer concerns, Erich and Anneliese, the UR family, Doris, Meesook, baby Finn, immigrants, upcoming elections, and a variety of world and country issues. Lord, there is never a time when we don’t need you. Thank You, Lord for Your ever presence.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling August 20, 2019, 7:43 am

    Care giving is challenging for me. There were days when I grabbed pancakes for lunch and walked away without getting my change back. It has taught me to be patient and tto pray without ceasing. Also, most importantly, to pray for God’s will to be done.

    Prayers for Jill to have strength and wisdom in caring for her dad.

    Blessings!

    • Jill August 20, 2019, 2:57 pm

      Thank you, Mary.

  • Julie August 20, 2019, 8:10 am

    I love caregiving. The authors’ description is perfect. Many traits of mine that are latent come rushing to the surface. I am a caregiver at heart. I enjoyed caring for my daughter, caring for patients in hospice and caring for my kitties. I even enjoyed caring for my first husband (Megan’s father).
    Prayers for Jill as she learns to be an emotional caregiver. I believe you already have the skills as you use them in your classroom and in your support groups.
    Prayers for Robert as he meets a new friend. May they enjoy a long and fruitful relationship.
    Prayers for Mary as she too is an awesome caregiver. The fact of this is evident in your example. You were so invested in your caregiving that all trivial matters were neglected. You also care for your students deeply.
    Prayers for Andrea and her health issues.
    Prayers for Lou, may she be safe as she travels home.
    Prayers for Connie, may her heart soar with the sun.
    Prayers for Marcy, may she be well.
    Has anyone ever taken one of the UR ecourses? I am considering the one that is described this week in the reflection “something more” section.
    Prayers for all UR posters and readers and those missing from posting

    • Jill August 20, 2019, 2:56 pm

      Julie – I have done an e-course. I believe it was centered around Advent. I found it to be well worth the cost and time.

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling August 20, 2019, 11:49 pm

      Thank you Julie!

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