Sunday, June 22, 2014

The act of Caregiving: Love with No Strings

I’ve been thinking lately about the nature of Love. Young love is beautiful, Romantic love is awesome, but  the love of Christ is all-encompassing. The love He has for us, and through Him-knowing the way and the path –learning to love- and growing in our lives and in our love for each other…that is the greatest part of life for a Christian.
As caregivers we acknowledge the pain and the sorrow felt as we watch our loved ones slowly grow weaker and slip away from us.. At times it can be a lonely job caring for elderly parents or someone we love that is handicapped. Yet in caring for them, we realize the all-encompassing power of love and how much it enriches our lives each day. No longer are we alone. The Lord is with us all the way.
I am very much a movie buff. Everyone who knows me knows this about me…So it is no wonder that my thoughts, even when taking a spiritual turn, will come around to film and movies! There is a moment in the Diane Keaton/Meryl Streep film, “Marvin’s Room” that resonates with me every time I think about the act of caregiving and the sacrifices that caregivers make. Diane Keaton’s character, a middle-aged woman who has cared for her elderly parents, tells her sister when she comments on how lucky it is to BE loved so much: She says,  “I mean that I love them. I have been so lucky to be able to love someone so much.”
The fact is, the act of caregiving is one of the ultimate acts of selflessness we can give to our loved ones. It requires sacrifice and dedication on our parts. Yet it is a great gift in so many ways to let our loved ones know that we are capable of unconditional love.
Love with no strings attached. That is the way we describe our pets, usually. Because our children and our spouses and partners require something in return most of the time. But there comes a time when we need to make love with no strings attached a part of our Christian lives.
It is the kind of love Jesus was urging us to explore. It is the kind of love we give when we become caregivers for those we love. We are blessed as caregivers to be able to love others and to give them a sign that we truly are capable of loving others with no strings attached. That is the mark of Christian love. A love we share with no strings attached.
Lord: Thank you for allowing us the gift of learning to love and growing in love throughout our lives. We are given a great gift as caregivers to allow us to give and receive love as you have urged us to love others-the kind of love we speak of that is unconditional, with no strings attached. In Christ’s name we pray: Amen.