Unassuming

I just completed Eventide,
a novel by Kent Haruf.
It is a story
of several interwoven lives
in a small Texas town.
One of the characters is DJ,
a conscientious, quiet, 11-year-old boy.
DJ never knew his father.
His mother died when he was four.
So DJ ended up living with his grandfather
in a tiny, run-down house.
It was just the two of them.
His grandfather was in feeble health,
so rather than the man caring for the boy,
it turned out the other way around:
a concerned 11-year-old caring for
a stern, rigid 75-year-old.
DJ never complains,
never seems to resent all he must do.
He carries his unchosen responsibility maturely,
bravely.

DJ has been with me a lot
since I finished the book.
He reminds me of other caregivers I’ve known,
and new ones I’m continually meeting.
People who fulfill their role quietly, loyally,
because it’s what life has handed them.
People who do what’s called for,
despite their inexperience or lack of training,
despite the fact they would rather
be doing something very different.
People who carry on faithfully, day after day,
often under less than ideal circumstances.
People who do not expect recognition or reward,
let alone praise or acclaim.
People who give because giving
is the kind thing to do.
People who care because caring
is the right thing to do.
Probably you know such a person yourself,
and rather intimately.
I applaud you.

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