Learning to Do Small Things With Great Love
Hello there! We recently sprung forward with daylight saving time in my corner of the world, and I love having an extra hour of sunlight each evening. Spring is in the air, and I hope you are able to take a few moments to enjoy the buds blooming and the bees buzzing.
Life as a caregiver to a son with Friedreich’s ataxia can often feel overwhelming and all-encompassing. There are so many appointments to attend and needs to meet that sometimes I feel like I have lost myself somewhere along the way.
If you’re a caregiver, you may have had these same feelings at some point. There are great big tasks out in the world that need someone’s attention, but it feels like you may never have a chance to get out there and accomplish any of them because you’re so needed at home.
When I’m feeling unseen and unaccomplished, I try to remember the following truth, often attributed to Mother Teresa: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
I remember a time when my husband, Brad, was in the hospital after having his appendix removed. He was hurting, and we both were sleep-deprived and getting short-tempered with each other.
A sweet lady from our church came to visit, as many other family and friends had done, but instead of visiting with Brad, she asked if I would like to come down to the cafeteria for some lunch. I accepted. We headed downstairs, and she proceeded to purchase my meal and sit and talk with me for a while.
It was just the break I needed, and I returned to the hospital room feeling encouraged and recharged. Even though it may have seemed like a small thing to her, it was a big deal to me! I felt seen and loved.
Several years ago, I found myself in a season where I was home the majority of the time, doing what felt unimportant and monotonous most days. I remember feeling empowered after reading the following Facebook post by author, speaker, and blogger Jen Hatmaker:
“Some of you are in the middle of disaster relief in your own home. Your mission field? YOUR ADDRESS. When a marriage or kid or family situation takes every bit of you, when you are managing a crisis at home, when one of your people is going under or falling apart or lashing out or coming undone, these are the days you get to tell every other thing: NO.
“You say no to outside work, volunteering, jumping into another struggle, coming alongside another crisis. You say no to extra stuff, extra responsibilities, extra relationships, extra commitments. You say no to doing all the things you managed beautifully just a few months or a year ago.
“You say yes to the people under your roof, and you get your house together. In every equation, saying yes to one thing means saying no to another, so this may be your season to carefully choose. Your hurting marriage, your hurting kid, your hurting family…this is always a yes.
“Stay the course. No guilt. No apologies.”
Being a caregiver is a very big deal to the ones you are caring for. Honestly, they may not acknowledge it very often, or may even seem ungrateful.
I’m here today to encourage you and tell you that you are making a difference. You make life better each day for your loved ones by taking care of them and celebrating the small but important moments that make up life.
Though often unrecognized by the world, I want to recognize you for all the things you do each day. They may be small things, but they are done with great love.
Note: Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Friedreich’s Ataxia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Friedreich’s ataxia.