The Joy of Friendship, a Balm for Caregivers
Today I took a break to meet a long time friend for lunch. Lunch was a minor part of the day. We met at a plant nursery and gift shop–a place we’ve met before. She is a special friend. God brought her family to live next door to our family at just the time he knew we needed each other. We lived next-door for ten years. It’s been over fifteen years since we lived near each other, but we keep up the friendship. She’s the kind of friend I could call if I was desperate, unload my troubles, and know my confidences would be kept and I would be in her prayers.
We talked of many things, “shoes, and ships and sealing wax, cabbages and kings.”*. The subjects didn’t matter, with this kind of friend you just pick up where you left off. I know her family well and she knows mine. She knows my heart and I know hers. Through the years, we have spent many hours together praying for our children and have seen many answers to those prayers. (a whole other topic) There were many times we spent weeping in each other’s arms as we prayed for our kids, standing on our front lawns. The neighbors were probably sure we were crazy, but we didn’t care.
I don’t have to worry about framing my words in a context because we understand the context. It’s a restful friendship. Not the kind that when you leave you think, “Oh, why did I say that? Did she understand how I meant it?”
Our talk can be about serious things. We can talk about trivia. We can switch from one to the other easily. This kind of friendship is as rare as it is valuable. I can count on one hand the number of such friendships in my lifetime. It’s a friendship that includes both sympathy and accountability.
How Friendships Help Caregivers
Caregiving is such an all-consuming task, it’s easy to drift and not make the effort to set time apart for friends. It requires a hired caregiver be in our home while I’m gone. My plans have to fit into that window of time, including travel time. In this case two hours of travel time, an hour there–an hour back, but it was well worth it. I forgot the responsibilities of caregiving for a few hours.
When I came home, I felt relaxed. I was able to joke with my parents, even through Mom’s confusion. Actually, yesterday was confusion in stereo, as both parents suffered from confusion. It turned out it was timely. Mom was sick in the night and I spent a good chunk of the night hours getting up, changing beds, doing laundry and trying to comfort the pain and distress.
I’m glad I took my advice and took a break. It’s true, it gives you perspective, and renews your energy for the tasks ahead. Thank you my friend. You know who you are. Vive l’amitié.
Have you taken a break and seen the difference it makes? What happened?
Have a good caregiving day,
If you’re a quote freak, like me, it will drive you crazy if you can’t remember the context of the line, so here it is.