I go to support groups every week. Actually two or three a week sometimes, and it’s been incredibly helpful to me. I’ve been doing this [being a caregiver] for three decades and if you don’t think you need on—you know God bless you, but I’m telling you I do!
At one of the meetings I go to, there’s a coke machine there. You know how some machines just get it right it is perfectly chilled—for those of you who drink sodas or whatever.
Perfectly chilled; I love this machine and I love the sodas that come out of there. And it was so nice to sit at the meeting have a nice refreshing beverage. What happened was, this thing started taking my money. Well, I got kind of frustrated with it and it did not honor the transaction that was implied; I would give it money—it would, in exchange, give me something to drink. And I got little frustrated with it—there’s a number to call if there’s a problem. I called and hopefully got it fixed …whatever, then came back next week or so, and put money in it….then it gave me two sodas! Which is kind of, “okay well I think this is kind of balancing it out,” so I would give one to a friend or whatever and, well, this is all balancing out.
Then it went back to take my money again.
I tried this again and again, and it just kept taking my money—and even though it [the machine] looked as if was on and working, it kept taking my money. Finally, I just got tired of giving my money and I just brought a bottle water.
Now what’s the life lesson? Why am I even telling you about all this? Who even cares about my failures with the coke machine? I mean nobody really cares.
Think about what we do as a caregiver. Sometimes we put our treasure into an individual that may just be broken, and they can’t respond back in a way that we think would be appropriate—or even the way that is appropriate. They can’t do it.
We Caregivers often put our treasure into an individual who may be broken, and can’t respond in an appropriate way. We feel rejected and discouraged, but in reality, we’re not rejected …we may just be trying to bread at a hardware store.
Now, we can get mad about it; we can cuss and fuss, kick, scream, and hit the machine—and do all the kinds of things that try to jiggle that stuff and force the stuff that we want out of it. But ultimately the thing is broken, and if we’re looking to somehow get this thing to do different we’re just going to keep wasting our treasure. And our treasure sometimes is our heart.
And sometimes the individual you’re taking care of can’t respond back to you in the way that you are begging them to do so. It’s just not going to happen. So what do you do? Well, you don’t go and find somebody else. You don’t go and try to do something that’s inappropriate and unhealthy. You learn to recognize that, “Okay I’ll find something healthy to replace that.” In my case I just brought a bottle of water—that’s much healthier for me than a soda anyway.
What about when it’s the relationship?
Sometimes I think we get our self-esteem from other people; we allow other people to speak to our self-esteem. We allow other people to somehow passed judgment on whether or not we’re worthy enough—by their comments about their behavior. And if they say or do things that hurt our feelings then we look at our self-worth in a much more negative light. Well, how are you going to function as a caregiver if you’re just so beaten down because the words coming out of somebody else’s mouth …that you’re taking care of …are destructive or painful and hurt you?
Is it possible for you to consider the source and detach a bit from that—and recognize that your self-worth is guaranteed by something far greater than that individual? And that’s what I’m trying to do here on this show is to equip you with that …so in those moments when it’s just crazy. You know, so many people are taking care of aging parents who say things that are just so hurtful to them. One lady the other day told me about her mother who had fallen. Her mother’s eighty-five-years old. Her mother had fallen, she has dementia, and she was trying to get her mother back to the bed; she was trying to help her mother, and her mother said the most hateful, hateful things to her—and it just broke her heart. And it made her mad at all this, and she had to take a break from it. She just had to step away from it for a little bit and collect her thoughts and remind herself that all those things that her mother said do not get to pass judgment on her self-worth. They just don’t! They just don’t! They don’t get to do that! You have to consider that it just …the machine may be broken—and that’s okay.
And if you look to someone else, whether you’re a caregiver or not, to somehow affirm whether not your worthy as a person—well how far is it going to get you?
You see God says your worth comes from a much higher source—and that’s Him. Now, who are you to argue with God? If you look to other people …well, you know what? The same people that say you’re wonderful—can turn right around and say you’re lousy. What are you going to believe?
You’ve got to believe in an external source far greater than people …otherwise you’re not going to make it. Because the first time someone comes along and cast any kind of … [laughing] I used to say “cast asparagus at you” …it’s cast “aspersions” at you. [Laughing] “Cast asparagus at you!” You’re going to get all in a funk about this, and somehow think, “Oh my gosh I’m not worth anything I don’t do anything, etc.”
You can’t love freely from that position, and when you’re taking care of somebody you can’t look to them to replenish your heart.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]They may not be able to do it. They may be impaired. They may be under narcotics. They may have dementia. They may just be having a bad day—they just may be just being a jerk! Either way you can still stay calm. You can still care for them and express that love, because your love comes from a far greater source. [Music: Peter playing Near to Heart of God on the piano]
And as you’re caring for that loved one, and as you’re doing sometimes very menial tasks—and you don’t think anybody sees, and you don’t think anybody cares…you have One who provides you with inexhaustible love who does determine your worth …who does see what you doing.
You have a Savior. Look to that Savior. don’t look to that patient you’re treating don’t look to that loved one to affirm you in it. Be affirmed in the fact that you have a Savior who stretch his life for you on the cross and died for you.
Let that be enough.
That frees you up to love that person no matter what they say or do—and you can be at peace.
They may revile you, they may say all kinds of stuff, but you can be at peace, and you don’t need to be torn up with all the stuff.
That’s why we do what we do at this show—to give you practical hope; real hope and things that you could hold on to in the midst of craziness.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/162692555″][us_single_image image=”7110″][us_single_image image=”6440″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Peter Rosenberger hosts a weekly radio program for caregivers, is the author of HOPE FOR THE CAREGIVER, and founder of Caregivers With Hope. Drawing upon his 30 years as his wife’s caregiver through a medical nightmare, Peter strengthens fellow caregivers with tools and strategies to live a calmer, healthier and even a more joyful life as they serve as caregivers for a vulnerable loved one.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]