On plenty of days as a caregiver, I do a perfectly adequate job. No fanfare, no heart-warming moments. My client was cared for and I did what I needed to do, that’s all.
I don’t necessarily feel like a hero then, or a special person. And here I will ramble on a bit about something that has been a pet peeve of mine but I’ve not always known why: when people ask me what I do, then respond with,
“Wow, it takes a special person.”
Some reasons this bothers me:
- How to respond??
- “Thank you for noticing, I am a special person!!” Maybe comes off a bit prideful.
- “No I’m not!” Sounds like I want to pick a fight about why I’m not special. With their comeback always being, “oh but you ARE!” Which is just silly.
- *Some sort of meek agreement/thank you* This much humility is hard for me! Ha.
- It implies that the other person is not a special person. How mean!
- It seems to let the other person off the hook of being “a special person” like, “YOU are one who does those things, while I am not.” My thought is, at some point in life most of us will be put in the position of being that “special person” to somebody. Your parents, grandparents, kids, a co-worker, a friend who is sick, or whatever. There will be hard things to do, and you will do them. Anyone can care and help someone, it doesn’t take a special category of person.
- It’s a “yes, but also no” kind of thing.
- I do believe that God gave me a special mixture of empathy, patience, spunk, love for Jeopardy, and what-not, because one of the things He created me to do is care for elderly folks. I get excited about my work! I was made to do this! I am special!
- Also I am not special! I could only do this work with my Father. Without His help along the way I would have failed long ago, because I’m prone to lots of non-specialness: laziness, me-first-ness, etc.
Example: a memorable afternoon of caregiving. I was heading into my shift very tired, irritable, non-special. I tossed out a quick prayer/threat, “God, if you want me to be a caregiver to this difficult woman for the next 4 hours You have to help me big time.” It was not pretty. But slowly my heart was humbled & softened and I discovered an extra reserve of patience. Surprisingly I had a truly wonderful, rewarding time caring for a special lady.
I was willing, more than I was special. Willing to serve, to give love. That opportunity is open to anyone, and anyone can put their special spin on it.