Shoulder To Stand On

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          Almost 2 weeks back, I felt a vague unease pass by my heart. There was so much to do then that I could not pay it much attention. Nevertheless, it hovered close by, biding its time to come forward. Later, in town, waiting in the car for one my children to run an errand, I sensed a quietening within me. Then, I felt a distinct press on my heart: someone was in need.

          Last week, there was another unexpected sign – someone in need – in New Zealand. My godparents and their families reside there. So did the family of another aunt who had passed away recently. Was it any of my loved ones? Or New Zealand in general, I wondered. I prayed. But again, work interfered.

          Still, even as I worked, one quote kept coming up,

Standing on the shoulders of giants

          Although I knew what the quote meant, I was certain that it was pointing to something else.

The giant souls we depend on to get us through our trials.

Something to do with those we rely on so much, the strong ones among us. Those who hold us up when we would fall, those who will us on when we lose hope. Who wipe our tears when the pain scales the highest walls, holding us close to their own worn and broken hearts, holding us tighter through prayers.

It is the caregiver, whispered my heart. The soul in need was a caregiver.

          On Friday, I received some good news concerning work that brought immense relief –  something big that had taken up quite a chunk of my time and attention had been cancelled. I had been locked too much within myself over that. Freed now, I flew to open my heart more to others.

          Then, a text came in and it became clear who needed me. My uncle in New Zealand. The family has faced so much over the past decades. My uncle patiently, with great love and faith, has led the way forward each time. But the recent trials they have endured have been one too many. Serious illnesses, an ill grandbaby, a business all but wiped out by Covid.

The heart of a caregiver is the biggest heart of all.

          Yet, it is that heart we often forget and that which we take for granted. Who holds a caregiver’s hand when life is hard for him, the difficult journey far from its end? Who loves her back to strength when her heart is broken and her vigour gone? To our eyes, the caregivers among us are the epitome of joy and endless grace in suffering, a tower of strength. Yet, we see only what we want to see. Hidden from ready sight is the price of a caregiver’s love. What is the hidden cost of loving and giving so much? What pains do they bear in silence so that they can be there for us? What do they keep away from us so that we can heal, so that we find our footing once again after a fall?

          The answers to each one of those questions will be varied, I know. I know something about my Uncle’s walk of fire, but every caregiver’s story, if he cares to share it, will speak to a common refrain of sacrifice, suffering and loss, endured in sweetness and silence, so that others may live on in hope and dignity.

          The caregiver cares for someone. But someone else must look out for the caregiver too. So, I go knocking on doors, to all the saints I’ve called upon, learned to trust and come to love over the years.

Help him

help him

help him

I call at each stop.

          When generous souls spare little thought for themselves, we must, for their sakes, for even a giant needs a shoulder to stand on.

9 comments

  1. I have learnt that when there is a knocking at the door of our hearts we must respond instantly. It is not without reason. Often no care is needed rather just the knowledge that someone cares, someone is praying, someone is concerned. And most vitally, that our Angel has delivered the message sent by God Himself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is absolutely true! We need to step forward and help the caregivers, too. And often they are the last people who will ask for it. Good for you for being tuned into his need, and for your open and accepting heart. You pick up things the rest of us miss, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am praying for your uncle! Oftentimes, the givers are unintentionally overlooked; everyone simply expects them to be strong all the time. Prayer is such a gift! God hears our every prayer. When we feel helpless to help someone in need, we can always pray. No one can be strong all the time…everyone needs times of rest to restore themselves. I believe God wants all people to know that they can rest in Him. They must allow themselves to receive His peace. Even Jesus, left the crowds and sought solitude on occasion. That is a very good example for us as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda, I know how much my uncle would be touched by your love. I agree that he cannot be himself because he feels too responsible for being everyone’s pillar of strength. When we think of Jesus, it is often about His active ministry, the amount He did, His great works, the great distances He travelled – but we forget that like anyone else, even Jesus withdrew and rested.

      Liked by 1 person

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