My next door neighbor is a widow. Her out of state daughter has moved in to stay with her. She said, “This is the way we used to do, just move in and take care of our loved ones.”
Ann is my wife of nearly 60 years. I am now her caregiver. She is unable to walk without a walker and cannot stand but for just a few minutes. After all she was my caregiver for over 50 years. To say “My wife doesn’t work, she’s just homemaker is a real laugh.” Just take off your shoes and do what’s required to keep the house going for a week. Try a month or a year. It would bless us all to know that caring is the highest level of communications.
Eighty percent of Americans live on less than one percent of American soil. We live beside each other, around each other, beneath each other and above each other – but hardly know each other. Can you name five neighbors on your block, or two or even one? The politicians all say the same, “We’re going to bring everyone together”. Big deal, but it’s never going to happen on the push of a politician. “Unity is what we need” is the sermon of the day. We all see the need but doing something about it is altogether different.
Do you remember the case of Catherine (Kitty) Genivese, who died from an assailant’s knife on a neighbor’s doorstep? Since then 28 neighbors (?) who looked on but did nothing have had difficulty in answering the question, “Why”, “Why did it happen”, “Why didn’t I help?”, “Why didn’t I care enough to do something?” “Why didn’t I call 911?”
Years later we watch the eroding emotion – “That helpless feeling.” Those who have the courage and ability to care seem to be decreasing. The very mark of a believer is summed up in the words of Jesus when he said, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love (care) one for the other” (John 13:35).
Doctrines may be perverted and misunderstood, but those who care seldom are. Folks really don’t care how much we know until they learn how much we care. Here are some ideas that might help resolve this spiritual energy shortage in loving care one for the other.
Smile more, even to people you do not know. Touch people with your eyes – reach out to them. Let them know that you are aware that they exist. Be concerned about those you work with. Listen when they speak to you. If someone has a problem, spend that extra time with them. Never just endure or ignore people. Care about others.
Caring is the highest level of communication. The time of day, the weather, who will win the super bowl, the rose garden, the kids school and a thousand other subjects are just good “topic talks”. Even more frivolous is the superficial talk about others. Little minds entertain people; average minds discuss current events; great minds discuss principles of life; they get into the feeling area of the heart. Paul writes, “Weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15). Begin risking yourself more. Plunge deep into your feelings – refuse trivia and follow the words of Jesus when he said, “Judge not according to the appearance but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). Need some practice – start with your own family.
Envy is the caner of the soul. It prevents the sweet natural emotions of the heart that springs from the purer mind. Envy is a double curse. It rejoices when evil comes and is made sorrowful when good fortune blesses others. It is selfish, self-defeating and totally destructive. It is evil gone to seed.
Like the fly that landed on the sweet gooey flypaper. The first thought as he looks about for competition, and seeing none he murmurs “My flypaper”. The paper in returns says, “My fly!”
The well known speaker started of the seminar by holding up a $20.00 dollar bill. “Who would like this 20.00 bill?” he asked. All hands went up. He crumpled up the bill, he dropped it on the floor and started grinding the heel of his shoe into it. Then he wadded it up into a little ball and repeated his question. “Who would still like this $20.00 bill?” The same hands reached for the ceiling. “Why do you continue to want it?” he asked. “It’s been crumpled, dirtied, stopped on, and dishonored!” They said, “but it hasn’t loss it’s value – it is still worth $20.00!”
Then the speaker drove home his point. “No matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those that love you. The worth of our lives come not in what we do or who we know, but in WHO WE ARE AND WHOSE WE ARE. You are special – don’t ever forget it. Count your blessings, not your problems.
Opportunity is everywhere. Just open your eyes and watch for that awkward movement, that hunted haunted look of the eyes, or the very obvious needs of food, clothing or shelter.
Caring is pressing the hurting, painful humanity to our breast.