Show Up!

Carol and Larissa

Carol and Larissa

I just finished giving the Baccalaureate address for my daughter’s graduation.
Why am I writing that on a caregiver blog?

Because person after person thanked me for being real—for sharing my story, for offering hope and a simple truth. I shared pieces of my life, and pieces of my son’s illness, because I believe that God gives us moments to use what we’ve gone through to bless others.

I preached about something simple.

Show up.

I talked about showing up to school, relationships, work and ultimately, to God. Because anything else? God does for us.

On the long drive home, my mind transferred the sermon from graduates to caregivers.
When we start caregiving, we don’t have a clue what we are doing. Often we don’t have a clue what the diagnosis means or what the next few days, months, or even years hold for us. We bumble along, trying desperately to understand doctor orders, patient needs and the confusion that fills our lives.

But we try. We have to, right? We don’t really even feel that we have a choice sometimes. So we show up. We do our best and pray that we’re not screwing up any medical possibility of recovery for this person we love so dearly.

We go with our patient to their doctor appointments. We show up with healthier food (or at least try). We dive into the confusing world of research and best practices, hoping to learn all we can to help kick that cancer. We read and study. We share and struggle.

We show up.
Day after day, night after night, appointment after appointment. We wonder if we’re doing the right things. We realize we’re not trained for this job that’s been thrust at us. We’re afraid that someone will notice our incompetence. But when no one appears to volunteer, we take on any task that needs doing. We show up.

And it’s a God thing. Because He does the rest.
We do the best we can, but we are not the Savior.
We administer all the medications we’re told to administer, but we are not the Great Physician.
We soothe and rub, take temperatures and sing to sleep, but we are not the Healer.
We sit by the bedside, watching heart monitors and medicine drips, but we are not the Author of Life.

We do what’s asked of us; we show up. But it is God who holds our patient’s future in His hands. And because of that, we can graduate from worry, doubt, and fear. We can celebrate and let God do what He does best—care for us!

Photo credit: ©2013 Hayden Cox

Photo credit: ©2013 Hayden Cox

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  • JAB

    It is not only cancer caregivers that feel this way! But life goes on in a different way that what we are used to.

  • Reaux

    Beautifully said, not just for Cancer Caregivers, but all the host of us who care for a loved one in the home. Thanks.

  • You are both so correct – all kinds of caregivers share similar feelings. We all register under “we-don’t-know-what-we’re-doing-but-we-love-you-and-so-here-we-are”. We show up. My prayers for you both, as you show up, in whatever job description fits you!