UP FOR DISCUSSION … Does having Purpose give you Hope?

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I read a magazine article this morning about a middle-aged father of conjoined twins who left his homeland of Senegal to travel with them to London where he was given hope that the doctors there would be able to help.  Long-story-short, six years later the girls’ mother has returned to Senegal without them, any hope for surgery has been dashed because the one child’s heart is too weak to survive an operation and he refuses to swap one child’s life for the other, and he now lives with them in public housing in Cardiff, Wales because in the U.K. he can find the health care they need to survive.  Two years ago, the girls even began attending public school and their father continues to make them his “life’s purpose”. Despite serious challenges and a completely unknown future for the trio, the father’s upbeat comments around taking it just one day at a time is that he is “grateful for the chance to be their dad.  I have been given something extraordinary to do in my life.  I am blessed to be part of their journey.”

“I haven’t been able to stop thinking about his focus and despite the immense hardships of his situation how he has totally devoted himself to their care.  Their quality of life.  Their well-being.  His only objective is to “make every day as good as it can be.”

He knows they won’t all be good.  He knows the fate of both of his daughters is totally in God’s hands.  Yet he works each day to bring moments of joy and acceptance and sees himself as “a lucky parent.”  This truly must be what Henri Nouwen means when he talks about the “mutuality of joy” in caregiving.  I cannot think of a situation more dire, and find I am grateful that mine is so much less so.  But beyond all the emotion, I wonder at his focus only in the moment … never on the end result.

His sole purpose in life seems to bring him so much hope.  Hope for joy each day.  Hope for help where it is most needed.  Hope for the strength he will need to see this through.

A social worker assigned to the family comments: “their faces light up when he comes into the room” and he tells them how special they are.  His joy in being their caregiver is evident in every picture shared within the article.  Those loving smiles in return reflect that joy and seem to be their own reward!  So much for this caregiver to think about!        

Most things about caregiving are up for discussion.  How do you find the joy in caregiving?  Do you have a stated purpose in caring for your loved one(s)?  Do you find that having a stated purpose brings you hope?  Please post your thoughts in the comments section below.




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