This week’s topic pushed me into a careful consideration of words and their nuances. Ten days after a significant surgical repair, I was feeling profoundly grateful for all the caregiving provided by my loving husband and I wanted to write about "Caregiving" — providing help to someone who needs it. But “Caregiving” conjures up images of dependency more profound and perhaps more permanent than I wanted to address. Similarly, “Support” didn’t capture the phenomenology of need. I was indeed dependent on much of the care that was provided. “Helping” came closer, although I was aware it could also imply collaborating or cooperating, a topic I had addressed in a different context and will work on for this series in the future. Eventually that word won out and I began thinking of ways in which helping one another becomes a way to show love.
What kinds of help might be provided?
How can you help?
Acknowledging and meeting needs or requests. When you provide help that is either obvious or requested, you validate the loved one’s ability to both know what they want as well as the limits of their perceived ability to secure it. Acceptance of inevitably dependency becomes a source of intimate connection.
Why (and when) is helping showing love?
When have you been helped and knew your helper was expressing love? When have you reached out to help another, motivated by love for them (rather than their need or your desire to see yourself as helpful)? Have you ever misunderstood a call for help? When have you regretted responding to one? Why?
Copyright 2017 Roni Beth Tower
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