Many caregivers can feel like they live in a cave. When I first started on this caregiving journey, I felt like I'd been violently sucked out of the life I was accustomed to and into a dark, lonely cave. As a very sociable person, this was one of the hardest things for me to work through early on. The other biggie was trying to find a schedule. I'm over-analytical and function well in an organized schedule, but one was not to be found. Lol.
After years of teaching school, working in the church, and lots of other social doings and goings, I found myself very alone. It felt like everyone had disappeared. In retrospect, they did. But I also found that I retreated to the back of the cave for soul safety. I had a lot to deal with and to work out. Life had changed abruptly, and it never returned to the "norm."
During the shutdown, our cave dweller lives became the norm for much of the world. But as they ease back to their "normal" activities, I am finding I'm stuck in the cave again. The problem is the world has somewhat lost its understanding of caregiving cave dwellers. It's easy to feel stuck. What do we do when we feel stuck in caregiving? Retreat further back in our respective caves. (Maybe it's just me.)
What appeal does the cave have? It's generally quiet, no one will disturb us in our crazy thoughts. We can close our eyes and run around in our own thoughts day in and day out with no interruption. (This is not a good thing!) No one expects anything from us. Even our well-established relationships have changed, and no one makes those draws from our wisdom and expertise, assuming we have any to share, right? And it's simpler. We don't have to please anyone, pay anyone, or explain anything to anyone.
In the back of the cave is often where we learn how to trust God more. It's in those dark, quiet places in our lives that we force ourselves to look for a shimmer of light. When our emotions have run out, we are more eager to reach for His helping hand. We look for a source of comfort for our souls, and God is the only one near enough to reach us. And reach us He does!
No cave is so deep that He cannot find us. There isn't a thick enough darkness to inhibit God from seeing us. He isn't afraid of our tears, fears, or crazy thoughts. He will come to us in the deepest, darkest cave and bring His peace, comfort, and joy. He's with us, and He's not afraid to be there with us - no matter how deep we crawled back into the quiet darkness. He may wipe away our tears. He may just hold us. He may just sit in silence. But He's there.
Today, I'll remind myself that God is in this "space" with me - no matter where I find myself. I'll take a deep breath and embrace the truth that He is still dedicated to the journey, and He's not going to leave me when it gets rough. I will choose to trust Him for one more day - will you join me?
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