Now, I have to admit that sometimes in the crushing - the fragrance that has been released was not pleasant. Remember crushing stink bugs as a kid - that was not nice, nor did it smell good. Crush a garlic and you'll smell garlic. But you will get whatever is inside of what's being crushed.
Caregiving can be a crusher that lets us know what's truly inside. As a matter of fact, it's more like a constant crushing, I refer to it as living in the furnace. It never stops. This can reveal our character - what we are really made of - what we really smell like.
I've seen both as it pertains to myself. There are times when the crushing comes and out pops the sweetest poem, song, thought or action toward another. And then of course, there are the times when the crushing brings out cussing, screaming and the I just can't take it anymores. It can depend on the day, or the moment really.
But as I'm looking through this chapter, I see that He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He was despised, afflicted and crushed for our iniquities. It also says He was despised and forsaken of men. Wow. Some of the feelings we can deal with as caregivers - Jesus felt them too. He understands rejection and never quite fitting in. He understands taking the blows for someone else. He understands when others look away because we look too hideous. And He did it all for others - not for Himself. The ultimate caregiver.
He was crushed so we could experience salvation, He was bruised so we could be healed. He was beaten so we could be justified. He laid His life down so we could all live. When He was crushed the beautiful fragrance of redemption poured forth.
Day after day we lay our lives out there for our loved ones - and it smells good to Him. The fragrance of our crushing brings out a sweet smell that is identifiable as love. The same love that held Him on the cross for us - is the love that holds us by our loved one's side. That smells good to Him.
For me, it's easy to see how He loves others with that kind of love, but I can't always grasp it for myself. I think as caregivers we get so outwardly focused, partly because we have to be, that we can't see it for ourselves. But He loves us. He calls us His. He redeemed us - He didn't die for everyone except caregivers.
Today I will turn my thoughts to His great love for us....for me. I'll meditate on how it can be possible for Him to feel the same measure of love for me as I feel for my son, and even more. I will roll it around in my head and try to comprehend His love for me, and my work will be to accept it and to trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?