Questions, life is full of them. Questions often begin with a: who, what, when, where, why, or a how. In the first installment of these mental meanderings we touched on a question that begins with the word who. Who am I? You are a caregiver. You give care to someone who needs you to do so. You are an important part of another person’s life. You are brave, selfless, attentive, compassionate, and (more often than not) stretched to limits you did not know existed. You are to be commended, not only for what you do, but for who you are.
The next question is: What can I do in order to be better at what I do? My suggestion is: cultivate the desire to do so. That may sound strange and perhaps a wee bit vague but think about it for a moment. Desire is at the heart of many beginnings. The truth of the matter is, in life desire almost always precedes effort, and effort is a necessary ingredient in realizing a preferred outcome. Millions of dollars are spent on this principle by advertising/marketing firms all over the planet. (Have you ever seen a golden brown French fry on TV? I rest my case.) If we nurture the desire to be better at what we do, we will naturally be on the lookout for ways to improve. Our imaginations will be constantly conjuring up ways we can incorporate new ideas into our daily routine.
One reason why we do not think about ways to be better is because we are so fixated on those things that hinder our progress and divert our attention. Have you ever wondered what would happen if we spent as much time looking past the obstacles as we do looking at them? Years ago I was sitting on my front porch taking in the sights and smells of a late spring day just after a rain shower. The sun was setting in the west, the air was fresh, and tiny droplets of fresh rain water glistened. Across the street was a thick stand of young sweetgum trees. The green leaves were finely laced together to form a seemingly solid wall that swayed ever so gently in the evening breeze.
As I sat in my rocking chair, I took a slow deep breath in and just as slowly let it out. This moment was special. And then I noticed a pair of red birds frolicking in the afore mentioned foliage. I watched them chase each other in the dense growth. A hop here, a jump there, a flutter of wings, and then off they went flying so fast it was hard for me to keep my eyes from crossing. It was at this point it occurred to me; I had never seen a bird hit a tree. They fly in and out among limbs, sticks, leaves, pine needles, branches, brambles and such like all day long and not once have I ever seen a bird bounce off any of them. I asked the question, why? The answer is (in my humble opinion) because they do not focus on the obstacles, but rather they look to the light. The leaves and limbs and other “stuff” that seem to form such a barrier to forward progress, are in fact little more than convenient places to rest from time to time.
If we aren’t careful, as caregivers we can become so consumed by the things that seem to obstruct us that we fail to notice the light all around us. Which brings us back to the question of the day, i.e. what can I do in order to be better at what I do? It all begins with desire. Allow that desire to guide your heart. Along the journey, realize that there will always be “stuff”, but the “stuff” doesn’t have to stop you, if only you will remember to look to the light in between.