Each day can have its own challenges that only caregivers understand. But one thing that I feel is a prevalent battle is the social isolation. My social life is virtually non-existent. And for those who can get out some - it's an understatement to say it's way different from BC (before caregiving).
I can only share how I feel, and maybe it's just me, but I can feel like an insignificant bump on the face of the earth. Not only do I not have a social life, but I feel like I am more of a burden on society than a contributor. There are times I have to stay completely off social media because it can trigger a battle with depression.
BC I was a goer. I loved to travel, I loved to go. I was always hiking, exploring, driving new roads and finding new adventures wherever I was. For me, when I see people posting pictures of their latest vacation, or weekend getaway to the beach, I can start to feel even more isolated and deprived. The caregiver doesn't always have the freedom to go and do like we'd like to.
Yesterday, I found out some decisions about my parents had been made without my input. It wasn't really a bad decision, it just hurt that I wasn't a part of it. Does that make sense? Not only was this decision made without my participation - it basically cut me out of the decision--making process for the future as well. Not really that big of a deal. However, it drove me into a deeper aloneness that seemed to swallow me whole.
It felt as though I was being told one more time - just be your son's caregiver - you are not important. I felt rejected, not needed. Insignificant.
As I awakened this morning, these feelings of insignificance were still swirling around in my head. I struggled to make some sense of it, to find a way to wash it away. So I asked God what He thought. I asked, Am I also insignificant to You? My immediate thought - I'm sure He whispered it to me - was that I am the apple of His eye.
Now I am familiar with the phrase from scripture but I had to look it up. David prayed in Psalm 17:8 for the Lord to keep him as the apple of His eye. I noticed one translation said the daughter of the eye. Since I'm a girl - I liked that! Then in Zechariah 2:8, God told the prophet that He would protect Jerusalem and that whoever touches her was touching the apple of His eye. I smiled. It felt like God was trying to tenderly tell me He's got me.
I may feel isolated. I may feel socially unacceptable. I am different - and I'm okay with that. Caregivers are still human, you know! (Even though we've been known to pull off some pretty-near super human feats! - where's my cape? lol) We still feel. We can still contribute. It's just different. And even though family, friends and society may feel differently about caregivers - God doesn't.
Well, maybe He does. Maybe, just maybe He pulls us in a little closer, protects us a little more closely, and speaks tenderly to us a little more often. Because caregiving doesn't remove us from being an object of His love.
Today I'm going to look at God knowing I am what is in His eye. My meditations will be on His unchanging love and tenderness toward me. I'll turn my thoughts to how He holds me, He loves me even in my craziness. In my loneliness he hasn't abandoned me. I'll think about how He's walking this out with me day after day. He doesn't quit when it gets ugly. My pain is not repulsive to Him. I am not repulsive to Him. He cares. And with that, I will trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?