Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Caregiving Metaphysics Religion/Faith

WHY? … As a caregiver the more you ask WHY you realize any answers are not of this world. No shrub, flaming or otherwise, has ever spoken with me and neither preaching nor proselytizing is my calling. This is only about trying to live with “why”.

“Care” is rooted in the “Golden Rule” universal to ALL religions. Do to others as you would have them do to you. I’ve met caregivers from all theologies and those who practice no traditional denomination. In 22 years I’ve observed no advantage or disadvantage to any particular religion in regards to caregiving.

Religion and faith are not the same. Faith is belief beyond known fact. Faith in something greater than myself is critical to caregiving.

I suspect many caregivers feel like they were on that proverbial road to Damascus with a world of different plans in life when suddenly “redirected”.

Patti believes what I am matters, so at the risk of sectarian violence I will again briefly pull back a curtain. My maternal grandmother was an immigrant from Ireland and my bedrock is Irish Catholic.

What’s the difference from Roman Catholic? In a nutshell, one is pragmatic the other dogmatic. Sprinkled with Druid DNA, Irish Catholic is more embracing of the natural world than our Roman cousins. <grin>

People have shared with us that, “The Lord works in mysterious ways” enough times over the 22 years since Patti was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis to probably qualify for an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. … PLEASE think of a more creative way to express that thought.

Those ‘mysterious ways’ challenge faith. As the caregiver, watching Patti decline (and over a three year period burying my father, mother, and only brother) I’ve certainly had, have, and will have contentious streaks in my relationship with God, fortunately always staying just beyond the ‘smite with lighting bolt’ threshold. … I admire those with rock solid faith.

For me, T. S. Eliot captured it best in his poem "Ash Wednesday":

“…Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood

Teach us to care and not to care

Teach us to sit still

Even among these rocks,

Our peace in His will…”


  1. ((((((((((((((((((HUGSOYOU)))))))))))))))))))))))))Have a nice day.

  2.  I always hated that, the lord never gives you more then you can handle also.  Oh yes he does.  But you have no choice so you handle it.  And you do it well, yes you do.


  3. is difficiult to explain how my "faith" works.  I have to believe that I am where I am supposed to be..........because if I didn't I would go nutz!  

  4. Somehow I find it fascinating what people say in difficult situations.
    I was told I must have really ticked someone off to have been as sick as long as I was--I was appalled--but considered the source and let it go.
    Sigh--life goes on!
    Hang in there!

  5. Religion is not a strong point for me. I care not for it.... and you are right about the phrase, "The Lord works in mysterious ways"  does get old.... Another one that rubs me the wrong way is "It takes a special person to do what you do."  YIKES...

  6. Religion/faith, it will be debated until the sun sets for it's final time.  Taking a few words from one of Celine Dions songs and turning them a little 'I'm everything I am because of you'.  I like to think that of faith and caring. Rache

  7. Very enlightening entry, Patrick.  If I were able to direct the manner of the world, I'd say honor something greater than yourself, and play nice together.  Thanks!  xoxo CATHY

  8. instead of "why" perhaps think "why not?" I do not know why God allows this person to get sick and that person not to. He is Sovreign and His ways are so much more better than mine and He sees the big picture; we just see in part. Someone from church shared their testimony the other week; his young wife got brain cancer in her 20s; a 9 month-old daughter and a 2.5 year old son at the time. They questioned "why" for awhile and then came to "why not?" We take the good that comes without a question, why don't we take the bad without a question and trust in Him? Long story short, she did die. In the same community, a young wife with an infant lost her husband in an avalanche and he was missing for 3 months before they found his body. She met this young widower through friends at church, became friends and eventually they married and had another child. Terrible circumstances led them to where they are today and they still miss and love their respective spouses, but can you imagine (and its not chance or coincidence) but these 2 peoples' DNA had to make this child. God was in control. We see in part, but one day we will see face to face (or something similar, its in 1st Corinthians 13).

    God doesn't send sickness and illness. It came into our world with evil when Adam and Eve sinned. We live in an imperfect world. It won't be perfect until it is destroyed and the new heaven and new earth is made. Why he allowed Patti to get MS I have no idea. But imagine how much through your wit, your willingness to share your life and struggles, imagine how many people you have helped.

    God works in His ways. Why he does, I have no idea. But that is what makes Him God and me not. But I'm thinking He probably had great faith in you all that you could handle this and do life well even with this totally unexpected curve thrown at you.

    Keep one eye on eternity and the big picture. It does help put some of the questions into perspective.

  9. Hi Patrick! This topic has been on my mind a lot lately.  I have a married, christian friend with ALS.  After 27yrs of marriage he has emotionally abandoned her.  He is also a man of faith.  I know caregiving is a tough journey but he has shown a shockingly ugly side.  I'm not seeing where faith is playing a part in his life.  Thank goodness for people like you!


  10. I must have some of that druid DNA in my Catholic blood! I always wondered why my thoughts on worship differed from my Roman Catholic friends'. Faith gets me through all things thrown at me. Sometimes, when the going is particularly tough, I can't even think about what I should do. That's when the faith kicks in for me. I just go deep inside, and let the Lord know I am completely helpless in the situation at hand, and would He mind showing me what I should do next. Works for me. Even in the darkest hours of my life, it worked for me. Your faith must be very strong, and your trust in the Lord is true. Bea


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