My little spiritual formation group (which now meets on Zoom) has been struggling with the question “how can I help?” since early in the pandemic and again in the era of protests in the street. Many of us are doers. We all feel guilty safely ensconced in our homes while the world is crashing around us. We know that for now it is foolish for most of us to try to volunteer outside our homes. Most of us are using Zoom to stay in contact with other groups we were a part of before the pandemic struck. But the satisfaction that comes from seeing other lives impacted by what we personally do is rare.
So when I read the Ministry of Arts Prayer for Caregivers, I was struck by this phrase: “May Abundant Love lift you and Gratitude bless you as you live the mission of Care entrusted to you.” “Living the mission of care” entrusted to me has become a helpful way to determine “how can I help?”
This week when our little group met it was easy to determine what each of us is being entrusted with. The mission of care for one was to support her grandson as his family struggles with mental health problems. Another member just welcomed a bi-racial great grandson to her family. She now has the opportunity to love, support and mentor her granddaughter as she sorts out how to be the mother of a bi-racial child in the midst of racial chaos. Another has been asked to serve her neighbor by being her unofficial “next of kin” during her illness. A fourth member found a way to assist her church through her service on a local denominational committee.
My mission of care is to help my husband physically, emotionally, and spiritually navigate the path of leading to the end of his life. It requires “nursing,” planning, companionship, encouragement, unconditional love, chauffeuring, phone calls, laundry, cleaning, washing, cooking – and staying home so I don’t bring home COVID-19 to further decimate his lungs. Many of these tasks seem beyond me some days and I have to rely on Abundant Love and Gratitude to see me through. But knowing that God has entrusted me with this mission of care is motivating and empowering.
I have also learned that putting on “the whole armor of God” can protect me from spreading my negative feelings and cranky behavior to my husband. I see my “armor” as similar to the PPE put on by front line workers during this awful pandemic: masks and face shields and gloved and gowns and shoe coverings protect them from the virus. When I get up in the morning I dress in my clothes and then don my virtual “PPE” to protect my husband and myself from the emotions that sometimes want to escape my body and contaminate both of us.
We all are uniquely crafted and blessed with talents, abilities, histories, and opportunities that make us the perfect person to be used by God for important missions – even if we can’t leave our homes. We just need to be willing to accept those missions when God sends them our way – even if they seem small or homely. I encourage us all to welcome the lifting of Abundant Love and the blessing of Gratitude so that we can recognize and live into every mission God sends our way.