My brother Mike
created a company,
then sold it.
He was employed
by the new owner
for a while.
Without much notice that contract ended
and Mike found himself suddenly retired,
a vigorous 61-year-old.
All this happened while he was engaged
in some carpentry work in our home—
a new digital darkroom for me,
a quilting room for my wife.
Mike is very handy in that way;
I look foolish with a hammer.
He finished this volunteer work yesterday.
We thanked him with gusto.
I gave him some of my photographs.
Bernie gave him one of her lovely
quilted wall hangings.
This morning I had an email from him:
Working on your projects has been good for me. It meant the reawakening of my woodworking energy after fifteen years of dormancy while I built my company. It has smoothed the transition of my daily activities and goals from being business-oriented to being avocation-oriented. That’s a huge change for someone as hard-working as we Millers tend to be.

Technically Mike has not been my caregiver
these recent weeks as he has done
so much to create our “happy rooms,”
as Bernie calls them.
But unquestionably he has shown caring for me
with all his hard work,
which he did just because
he’s such a sweet and generous man.
Some days it was a little difficult
to accept all his kindness
which flowed from him so freely.
But his email today reminded me—
he got something in return.
His transition became less painful,
more purposeful.
He reconnected with his creativity.
This morning he’s excitedly designing
his own new “happy room,”
as he dismantles his home office.
And me?
I was on the receiving end
of so much that Mike gave.
But in allowing him to give,
appreciating and valuing all he did,
I gave to him too,
without even quite knowing it.
In giving, Mike received.
In receiving, I gave.
It all merged together.
Mike gavereceived.
I receivedgave.

As with the two of us,
so with caregivers and care receivers

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One Response to “GivingReceiving”

  1. Susan Says:

    Dear Jim, So glad you have been given to as you have given me so much. I love my little “place” I created in our back hallway, it has helped my prayer times immensely. Your brother is pretty special to make a “place” for you and your wife. Take care! Susan

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