God pushes us. The tougher the situations we’re presented, the more likely we’ll also be offered opportunities to use our God-given gifts to assist others in similar situations.
I’ve been richly blessed as well as greatly challenged most of my life. But that doesn’t seem to be an excuse to slack off through my senior years. At a time when most of my friends are retiring, my game is stepping up.
So much is coming together. Through a steady presentation schedule, I’m reaching families struggling with the demands of caring for a loved one with dementia, sharing my 15 years of caregiving experience, incorporating numerous decades of research and writing, and subtly applying a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Theology.
In addition, these presentations offer a component that’s an author’s dream. Guests receive copies of my books (Navigating Alzheimer’s and The Alzheimer’s Spouse), compliments of my hosts who purchase books from my publisher in large quantities. I don’t have to sell, handle money, or ship returns. Books are being placed into the hands of readers these books were written for.
The opportunity is humbling. I’m grateful for being able to use my heartache, knowledge, and experience to ease the road ever-so-slightly for my fellow caregivers. I know their pain, and they touch me deeply.
The challenge is keeping the physical pace. Travel and public speaking on such an emotional topic are exhausting, especially with a number of health conditions to keep in check.
One of my favorite saints, Saint Theodora/Mother Theodora Guerin, often reminded her sisters that they were not expected to fill every need only to do as much as they could. I’m learning to heed her guidance, along with that from loving friends, to continue the work at a pace that works for me right now.
When speaking out-of-town, I find my stamina is best when arriving in the area the day prior. This relieves the stress of travel delays and exhaustion of a long day that makes it difficult to continue presenting the next day. I also realize I can’t speak every week and continue to keep up with writing.
The older I get, the more I understand how God provides all we need just not necessarily when we think we should have it. We may have to be very, very, very patient. Sometimes, as with my case, it takes a lifetime to come together.
Read, Young in the Spirit for more on aging and spirituality.