by Daphne Reiley
When we give of ourselves – emotionally, spiritually, financially, physically – there comes a time when we must stop, rest, and give to ourselves.
Giving to ourselves can take many shapes.
Giving can look like sleep, laughter at a good movie, digging into a great book, hugs from friends, a long walk, romping with dogs or cats or some other kind of furry friend.
Giving can also be a good cry in a hot shower; soft whimpers in the arms of a loving spouse or friend.
Giving can be a nice dinner out or a nice dinner in.
Giving can be dancing, running, skating, swimming.
What does giving to yourself look like to you?
By Daphne Reiley
I am a member of First Christian Church of Decatur (Disciples of Christ) and we have a Chancel Choir of ten souls. These ten souls work diligently to uplift and inspire us as we worship.
This past Sunday, I was transported by their offering of “We Are Not Alone.” The words of the hymn, sung so insistently and persistently, have stayed with me since.
The knowledge that we are not alone, that God is with us is one that I have known since I was five years old. This morning as I sat journaling I was overcome with sadness when I considered just how many people in the world do not have or live with this knowledge.
God is with us. Christ is God with us. We are the Body of Christ.
Yet, we struggle remembering this in our darkest, loneliest times. Sometimes, it takes a hauntingly beautiful hymn to remind us, to be a gift that we carry in our heads and hearts for days, to inform us in our own thoughts and actions, to encourage us to pray and be still.
There is a beautiful offering of this hymn on Youtube by SE Samonte. I hope you will take the time to list (it’s just 2 minutes long). I apologize for my inability to post the song here.
Caregiving can sometimes be a lonely, isolating life. When we can remember that we are not alone, that God is with us at all times, in all places, and in all ways, some of that loneliness is lifted. Finding strength in the knowledge that we are not alone, can empower us to reach out to others, to accept help from others, and to love ourselves and the ones for whom we care with the love we have from God.
Be still and know that God is with you. You are never alone.
By Daphne Reiley
As a caregiver, recognizing that we need help is the first step toward a more healthy existence. Not such a profound statement, yet, for most caregivers, even recognition is difficult. Then after we recognize that we need help, actually reaching out for that help is sometimes nigh on to impossible.
Realizing that we are not as strong as “we need to be” does not indicate we are failing in our roles as caregivers. That realization simply means we are ready to take care of ourselves — something that is often left by the way in the midst of our caregiving duties.
Part of a plan to keep us grounded in our own condition, in our own needs, successes, and even failures, is to pray. Simply talk with God about our days, our worries, our joys, and our failures. Prayer is a conversation — a two – way conversation — meaning that we also must find a way of being silent and listen for God’s Word to us, for us.
God, of course, is not limited in the ways in which God responds.
We can experience a Word being spoken by the person of whom we are taking care. Listen.
We can experience a Word being spoken to us by a complete stranger — perhaps the clerk checking us out at the grocery store. Listen.
We can experience a Word being spoken to us by what we are reading — fiction, non-fiction, a magazine, a flyer. Listen.
We can experience a Word being spoken to us by what we are listening to — music, conversation, simple laughter overheard somewhere. Listen.
We can experience a Word being spoke to us when we sit in silence at the end of a long day and ask God to come, make God’s Presence known to us, to comfort and console us — and we Listen.
God is there. None of us is alone in our roles — whatever they may be, whether we have actually invited God into our lives or not — God is there nonethless.