I began training for my current job well over 40 years ago. The training was rewarding at times and it was very tough at other times. Most of the people who have my job have a title in front of or after their names. They make more money than I do, even though many of them do not make a lot of money doing it. There are others who are like me and they do it without pay also. They are the brothers, sisters, parents, husbands, wives, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends who do the job without pay.
They are the people who care for others, who drive them places, who take them to the doctor, who doctor and nurse the people themselves many times. They are the caregivers of the world.
I look at my church and I see quite a few people I admire because they are caring for others. I see a couple named Elvoye and Betty Thomas, who have been caring for family members ever since I have known them. Although many people would think they would be at a point where they needed the care themselves, they take care of Elvoye’s mother, who was one of the founding members of the church – in 1935. I see Janie Ruth Penny, who, despite her own health battles, is always at the side of her brother and her son because of their health needs. I see the pastor, his wife, sisters, brothers and brothers-in-law who go to the nursing home and watch over the pastor’s mother. I see people who work in the health profession who still have to go home and help take care of family members, who are struggling with cancer, blindness, dementia or a number of other problems. They do this for free.
I was introduced to tragedy at a young age when two of my younger sisters and a younger brother died. My parents set not only a good example of how I should deal with the grief, but a Godly example. I have a mentally-challenged sister named Abbie Gail, who is my heart and inspiration. She had to endure heart surgery when she was a child. My brother, Danny, has battled back from several physical ailments that would have kept a man of lesser mental and physical toughness down. My sister, Debbie, is one of the boldest people I know and she has valiantly fought a number of health battles.
Right now, I help take care of Danny and Abbie and they help take care of me. Our mother passed away in January 1999 and our father passed away in January of this year. They taught me and my siblings to show compassion to each other and to love each other and the only way we can do that is look towards who is the greatest Caretaker of all of us – God Himself!
While I may not have a title of doctor in front of my name, or a title or nurse, therapist or CNA, after my name, or any children who call me “Daddy,” (I am just a big brother who cares for my sisters and brother) God has given me the honor of helping care for my family and, because of it, I have received the greatest reward of all – unconditional love!