Unfailing care for caregivers
A Christian Science perspective: Healing ideas for National Caregivers Month.
November is National Caregivers Month in the United States. When a friend shared this information with me, I began to think about all the people the title “caregivers” embraces: mothers, fathers, nurses, children taking their parents into their home, “care committees” and clergy who meet the extra needs of church members, and so many more. It made me realize that caregiving is very much a part of living. We can’t really be part of a family, a work environment, a church, or a community organization without nurturing, supporting, and ministering to one another in some way.
All of this led me to think back to an especially intense time when a family member needed care, and how a deeper understanding of God’s mothering care for all Her children sustained me during this time. I was a Christian Science practitioner, a wife, a mom of three children, and I was about to welcome my first grandchild. During the pregnancy, my mom, who lived alone, began to need some extra support.
So, Mom and I both began praying to understand how God would meet this need. Our study of the Bible and of Christian Science reinforced what we knew: that God was mothering us all as the one divine Mind that cares for each of its precious ideas. It made sense to both of us that because God is divine Mind, God’s care would come as inspired ideas that would lift us to see Mom’s health, harmony, freedom, and dominion more clearly. And we felt sure prayer would also bring us guidance as to how to meet her needs for practical care. We worked with a line from a hymn in the “Christian Science Hymnal” that says:
Pilgrim on earth, home and heaven are within thee,
Heir of the ages and child of the day.
Cared for, watched over, beloved and protected,
Walk thou with courage each step of the way.
(Hymn 278, adapted © Christian Science Board of Directors)
I prayed to trust that God, Mind, was speaking to everyone involved and it was not my singular job to figure out a solution, but that in perfect timing we would all know what to do. A phrase from another hymn kept coming to my thoughts: “God will bear both it and thee” (Hymn 360, adapted © CSBD). It came to me that the everlasting arms of God’s love were upholding us all – me, my mom, my family, the people I was praying with in my healing practice, and everyone in the world for that matter. I gained a solid conviction that caregivers are as perpetually cared for and supported as those they support.
Just days before the baby arrived, my brother and his wife, who is a Christian Science nurse (an individual who gives nonmedical nursing care to those relying on Christian Science for healing), offered their home to my mother. My mom joyously and effortlessly embraced this change, and within 24 hours was moved into a lovely room furnished with some of her cherished belongings. Mom regained her mobility and was able to drive again, get out to the Botanical Gardens, and enjoy the companionship of my sister-in-law’s mom, who also lived with them. She was with us for several more years, and we continued to daily share the inspirations we were getting about God, who never stops providing for Her children’s needs.
I deeply appreciate what it takes to be a caregiver, and my heart wants to celebrate each one who does this work by saying “Bless you!” But, more than that, I pray that you feel how dearly cared for every caregiver is by God. We are never asked to do this alone. God is always upholding us – is always the foundation of support to all the support we give – and is gently, tenderly caring for us all as His sheep. As the Psalmist assures us, “He restoreth my soul” (Psalms 23:3). We can lean on this support, moment by moment, and find our strength, patience, courage, and joy unfailingly renewed. As Christian Science Discoverer Mary Baker Eddy puts it in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings” (p. vii).