The story I want to tell you starts with a question -- who cares for the caregivers?
For the people who take care of someone who needs attention and things done for them all the time?
Like a parent who can no longer care for himself.
Or a spouse who has dementia.
Or a child who must be fed and bathed and changed for years.
Above is a picture of my husband Shannon and my middle son Hawken. Hawken will be 15 soon. Hawk which many of you know has never walked or talked and cannot feed himself or do any type of self-care skill. In his first year of life it was apparent he wasn't going to progress developmentally physically.
Hawk is my biggest job now. He is taller than me but thankfully is very skinny so I can still lift him quite easily. We spend our days reading a lot.
I guess I am a caregiver.
So who cares for me?
There are a lot of answers to that question: Father God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, My husband, my church family; my own family even though they are distant. God uses a lot of people to care for me.
But the answer I want to share with you is this: Hawk takes care of me.
Yes, I am the one who takes care of all his physical needs. And I take care of his intellectual needs in a sense that I pick out the books we will read in a year and this is how we homeschool. This year we are reading books on forensic science, the civil war, the Bible, illustration and we always end our reading time with some sort of novel.
That being said, Hawk, in his way, takes care of me. I cannot even explain it. He doesn't talk to me verbally. He doesn't pick me up. He doesn't feed me or give advice to me. He doesn't make sure I take my vitamins or medication. But he takes care of me. It is a subtle thing. His very presence is soothing. God uses him to center me often. God uses him to give me peace at times. He listens. He reminds me to draw. He tells me when I need to change him. By just existing he blesses my life in a way no one else can.
I don't share this to elevate my son in any way. Even though he cannot do any self-care he is still an almost 15 year old boy who sometimes doesn't want to hang out with his mom and sometimes he complains.
I share this because sometimes we Believers accept and embrace worldly beliefs about people. We ask how do they contribute. We ask what can we do to be important. We look at everyone in our churches and see some as incapable of contributing. In bigger churches the staff may make choices to accommodate children and adults with atypical needs in a spirit of compassion not realizing that the people who need these accommodations are contributing to the church body in ways a human just cannot comprehend.
All of us are very very necessary to God's work.
I love Eugene Peterson's transalation of 1 Corinthians 12:19-24:
"But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, “Get lost; I don’t need you”? Or, Head telling Foot, “You’re fired; your job has been phased out”? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way—the “lower” the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?"
Think on that. Look at the people around you and see God's hand on them.
Let me share one more passage with you. This is taken from 1 Corinthians 1:27-28:
Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”?