• Pat Johnson

Do-Over

Blog. The term smacks of commitment, and aren’t we all committed or overcommitted? Does the world really need one more blog to read?

I have given this question much thought and have determined that sharing about my chaplaincy experiences might be helpful to those who are training or experienced in the helping professions. And maybe even the general patient/family population--those who wonder what goes on behind the scenes in the life of a caregiver.

The fact that most of us will be caregivers by choice or need also begs the need for writing and reading about shared experiences that will encourage. Caregiving, whether on a professional or personal level, is a task taken on purely out of love for others. Many of us see caregiving as a calling, not a job or requirement. We do it out of choice, out of love. Yes, some of us have mixed motives, and that is OK since we are human and are always “mixing our motives.” Some of us wish someone else had stepped up to the plate. Tough and rewarding!

Spiritually, how do we fare with caregiving? If each of us believes that we can minister the grace of God into the lives of those we care for, how do we grow and change through the process? And how does it deepen us as children of God?

I wish that I knew then what I know now...how to care for a mother who was spiraling into dementia without my full awareness. The importance of being present to someone, fully present without distraction and the overlay of meeting my own needs. Understanding the confusing balance between keeping boundaries and choosing to cross them. I’d like a do-over!

However, the next best thing is to pass on what I have learned and am learning every time I enter the trauma hospital that I serve. With this in mind, I offer my experiences to you as a gift--imperfect but hopefully usable and applicable to your own life and experiences.

Please feel free to comment on what I have written, as I share my experiences. Know that God works on both sides of the equation in my life and in yours.

I dedicate this blog to my mother who died seven years ago and taught me so much about what NOT to do! I know that I have her forgiveness, and I am passing along what I have learned in her honor. I even remember thinking to myself when I saw her hospice chaplain in action, “I could do a better job than that!” Well, God has given me the chance, and I humbly submit to you what I continue to learn.

Pat

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