What does the word home mean to you? In 2009, I would have defined home to be a house, in a community that we chose to live in, and our family who lived in our home.
That definition changed when Tommy came back from Craig Rehabilitation Hospital. Our home was now where Tommy’s care took center stage. Since his homecoming, we have desired and have been profoundly grateful that Tommy is able to receive great care in our home; his presence in our home is essential.
However, it has been a sacrifice and a surrendering for all of us to lose our privacy and “control” over our surroundings. For example, Because Tommy requires 24-hour nursing care, we have people in our home most of the time. Imagine having a male nurse that you don’t know in your house overnight!
It has not been easy, but with perspective, I believe we have all grown in profound ways because of the experience. Most of the caregivers placed in our home have been true to the title, “givers of care.” Barriers have been torn down, lessons learned, and love shared.
We watch as people who come from many walks of life with their own various hardships tend to Tommy’s needs with professionalism, love and so much grace. Admittedly, Tommy has always been more focused on others than himself and I think that is why people are so drawn to him and want to take care of him.
Although I consider myself an empathetic people person, I have found that in this circumstance I needed to dig deeper. Imperfectly, I am becoming even more aware of what I think, feel and say in response to others, realizing that no matter the situation people deserve respect, care and sometimes forgiveness, even when I am the one who needs to be forgiven. This discipline makes the saying, “home is where the heart is” true and therefore I can take my home, my heart wherever I go.
God is good to love us right where we are, but He desires for us to let him be the caregiver of our hearts. If we surrender our hearts to Him, He is the master renovator; maybe He will start by cleaning out some closets, then opening up some spaces, and ultimately lighting a fire to care for us so we, in turn, can care for others.
I would like to share this passage from Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day: A 40-day Journey with the Daily Office by Peter Scazzero. On page 144, he quotes Mother Theresa:
“I never look at the masses as my responsibility. I look only at the individual. I can love only one person at a time. I can feed only one person at a time. Just one, one, one. You get closer to Christ by coming closer to each other…”
What if we were to pray for God to open our hearts to trust Him, to surrender to Him and to allow Him to open up the endless opportunities to love Him, for Him to love us, and for Him to help us love others well?
Grace and gratitude,