JAN - FEB 2004
In the process of loving someone with a chronic illness, we often feel a recurring pang of grief and fear that overshadows the happy moments of our lives. Because the shadow never lifts completely, we must depend on the healing power of love when medical science has no answers. I have come to understand that love endures when it is based more on friendship, respect and commitment than on romance. Such love carries with it a sense of belonging, a feeling of home. Couples who deeply love each other become so interwoven that it is difficult to tell where one stops and the other begins. They think alike, talk alike, even begin to look alike.
As one devotes one's self to caregiving and weathers the storms of illness and recovery, you discover that your heart is stronger and your ability to love is greater. Love accepts responsibility without complaining and has integrity and persistence. Love is kind, thinks in positive ways, and finds joy in the midst of pain. Its unconditional nature allows the hurting person to pour out their worst in order to receive the best. God has shown us His unconditional love and now we must show it to others-especially to those who need our constant care.
The knowledge that nothing can take God's love away from us empowers us. "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord," (Romans 8: 38-39). In the face of chronic illness and pain, deeply loving someone with the unconditional love of Jesus is a powerful blessing.
As we begin 2004 in our care- giving roles, let us remember that love will enable us to face each day with a cheerful heart. The words of the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13 give hope and assurance that when all else fails, love never will. "Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails," (I Corinthians 13:7-8).
Lora Chandler has been in a care giving role since 1982 when her husband began his life-long struggle with pain due to a bone disease. Lora welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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