Benefit

On June 25th
I wrote about Paul Johnson
who cares for his wife, Barb.
Her physical condition
has improved with time,
but she still calls for
a great deal of attention.
He cannot leave her alone,
so he no longer has the personal freedom
he once took for granted.
Paul regrets this has happened,
yet he has a second response too.
“I used to be a procrastinator,” he told me.
“I could put off things with the best of them.
But nowadays I have to get more done in less time.
Anymore when I have the time or opportunity
to do a chore or run an errand,
I just do it.
I never know when I’ll next have that chance.
That I no longer procrastinate like I used to
gives me a sense of accomplishment.
I didn’t expect this benefit, but here it is.”

Caregiving changes our lives.
These responsibilities that become ours
may get in the way
of our normal patterns of living,
our traditional ways of working.
When that happens, what will we do?
In addition to any regret or frustration we may feel,
does anything else await us?
Might these changes that are required of us,
as unwanted and inconvenient as they may be,
help us in any way
forge something of benefit?
Like Paul, might we give up procrastinating?
Might we perhaps let go of needing to be perfect,
or needing to be always right,
or needing to be constantly in control?
Might we make use of this time
to become more patient,
or to grow more resilient,
or to develop greater empathy?
Is it not possible
that our caregiving may hold some benefit for us
even as it benefits the one in our care?

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One Response to “Benefit”

  1. Jason Says:

    Thanks for this. I just printed it and put it in my journal!

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