The Gift of Caregiving
Matthew 8:14-15: “When Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever; he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him.”
My husband and I are the primary caregivers for his dad (93) and mom (90) who live on the first floor of our family triple decker, we live on the second floor. Due to my flexible schedule as a pastor, I am privileged to wake them each morning, make sure they are cleans and prepare their breakfast before their housekeeper arrives. Often times, I will sit and join them for breakfast, and my mother in law always make sure that I eat enough. I am blessed.
Each evening it is my privilege to prepare my father in law for bed, insuring his undergarments are dry and helping him change into clean pajamas for the night. Every night he tells me, “I’m all set, good night, and I will see you in the morning for breakfast.” It makes my heart sing.
Our Latinx communities take pride that we are peoples that believe in the family, either those we are born into or those that we create. We strive to take care and protect our loved ones, especially to our most vulnerable. To offer caregiving is to honor those, especially our elders that have sacrificed themselves for their families.
It is no secret that often caregiving of family members fall on many of our LGBTQ folk who take on the role of primary caregiver for parents and relatives alike; perhaps it’s because we can empathize with the marginalization that can come from being elderly or ill by a society that shuns them and attempts to make them invisible. Being LGBTQ gives us insight of what it means to be shunned or made invisible.
Caregiving allows us to say to those we care for… “I see you”…as Jesus did for Peter’s mother in law. I can imagine Peter’s mother in law blessing Jesus with her gratitude for being healed by making sure he and the disciples had enough to eat. Her simple gift of caregiving for the caregiver.
My parents in law’s response to me for seeing them…is to make sure I am well fed and assured a blessing every night. What more can I ask for?
Caregiving is a special and mutually benefiting gift full of blessings. Blessed are those called to be caregivers; for they shall receive Christ’s healing song in their heart always.
Roberto Ochoa, M.Div. ‘17 is pastor of Lake View Congregational Church in Worcester, a member of the Coletivo for UCC Latinx Ministries and serves on the Andover Newton Alumni/ae Board.