August 26, Mother Teresa’s birthday, marks the third annual International Caregivers Day. As we celebrate the contributions of caregivers from around the world, let us pause for a moment to reflect upon the sacredness of our work.
Mother Teresa lived a life of service; of loving her life away for the sake of others. Similarly, Erie Chapman, pioneer and visionary leader of Radical Loving Care, shares a profound message to Live Love, not fear.
What is it that makes our work sacred? Each day we awaken to a precious blessing. Yet, how often does this gift, as well as the fleeting nature of life, escape our notice? As we slip into the shoes of our daily routine, our busyness can rob us of the awareness to bring our presence to what lies before us.
The mounting demands of healthcare reform remind us that the stakes are high. We have but one chance to get it right and time is short. Expectations for perfect care amidst shrinking resources require momentous shifts in how we undertake our work. Although stressful, change is a catalyst for creativity and innovation. Accomplishing the impossible can only happen when the hearts and minds of caregivers are focused on what really matters.
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can understand all secrets and every form of knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains but have no love, I am nothing.”(1:13 Corinthians, International standard Version, 2008).
Technology has opened a window into an expansive world. We are now able to connect and communicate in unimaginable and fantastic ways. Yet, the instantaneous power of computer know-how is moving at such an accelerated speed that we risk losing sight of our human potential for loving. The challenge is to bring our full presence into whatever is before us. “For whenever need is met with Love; this is a sacred encounter” (Erie Chapman)
It is important to remember the Sabbath. Let us stand strong and support one another to balance work with self-care and self-love. Indeed, the need will always be more that what is humanly possible to accomplish in a day. It is forever tempting to jump into fiery frenzy and risk completely burning out. When we bring our full presence, we find an opening for Love to enter and we are equally nourished by the sacredness of our encounters.
Special note to Journal readers, in honor of caregivers, friends, family and co-ministers, please consider offering an affirmation, by posting a story or word of appreciation to someone you know.
Caregivers, thank you for choosing to live Love.
With great esteem,
~liz Sorensen Wessel
Above drawings by liz