Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Caring for others.

Now, here is where balance really comes into play. We have already discussed our relationship with God and taking care of our own needs. But Jesus advises us that there is more happiness in giving than in receiving. So, how do we balance the three main aspects of our existence? I would say, perspective.

What is it that we owe to others? All the ways that we serve others can be summed up into two categories:
1. Companionship, and
2. Nurturing.

Companionship is being with someone. It is a basic human need. We are social creatures. Hence, the telephone, the Internet, mail, texting, Twitter, Facebook, etc., etc., etc. But are these viable options for satisfying all of our companionship needs? Certainly not. There is no substitute for face-to-face interaction. And do not rule out the power of touch! Babies deprived of touch waste away, but the same can happen to adults.  True attention and taking the time to really be (in mind and heart) with others is companionship. We owe the gift of companionship to others.
Nurturing involves helping fulfill the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of others. Volunteer work, taking care of family members,' workmates' and friends' needs satisfies in us that basic human desire to serve others.
Without working hard to help others, our lives will seem empty and without purpose.

But what happens when we are consumed by the pain associated with grieving or other hard times? Is it possible to get up in the morning feeling impulsed to take care of the three aspects of life that we have discussed (our relationship with God, our self-care and our serving others)?
It is not easy, and if you are struggling through one of those hard times, my heart goes out to you. One thing that can help is simplifying our life- concentrating on those three life motivations. Make it your goal to do small things every day to satisfy those needs. Maybe if you are having a difficult day you will be able to find the strength to say a very short prayer, to eat one healthy meal, to smile one smile to a family member. These may be considered by some to be such small things, but to us who are grieving they can seem like mountains! They are mountains that can be climbed, though, and the satisfaction that we derive from climbing them can be just that extra boost that we need to feel that we want to get up in the morning!