Some of us are not natural nurses.
And those of us who are not natural nurses tend to be really strong at not being natural nurses to our spouses.
My partner argues that I do have the ability to nurse as demonstrated by my ability to parent.
This is true. Although, that is an expected part of parenting. After all the other name given to our children is “dependents”.
When a spouse becomes ill and the role of caregiver is required, it’s often not an expected or easy transition to make.
When my hubby was sick, I struggled with irritability. I was caregiving through gritted teeth. The longer it went on, the more irritable I felt and the worse I felt about my way of being.
I was angry at him for being sick and I was ashamed of my impatience.
Then I did something that helped me …
I talked honestly to God about how angry I was feeling and how badly I was behaving (he knew already of course). And I asked Him to change in me, what I couldn’t seem to shift in myself.
The next day, I felt noticeably different. I found myself feeling peaceful (that peace that transcends all understanding). I started to care for my husband with a lighter heart.
Ever since then, when the need to nurse arises, I don’t try and step into that role on my own. I know I’m not naturally wired that way. I have to pray about it.
God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3:20-21 MSG
I have huge respect for those who nurse daily and I believe we need to provide compassionate space for those we know doing this work, making it safe for them to be vulnerable and truthful.
It concerns me when I hear others judge caregivers, chiming the words “in sickness and in health”. I know from my own experience that when you struggle to nurse cheerfully, this only adds to the feeling of falling short and that only makes the day (the work) harder.