Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine yourself doing your usual morning routine—getting out of bed, showering, dressing yourself, and basically living out your life. Now, imagine waking up one morning but not being able to climb out of bed on your own. You can’t bathe nor dress nor even feed yourself. You are dependent upon another person for basic necessities.
As one who was recently a patient, I experienced much of this. Approximately two and a half months ago, I underwent a hip replacement surgery. I relied on many others for my provisions. Can you actually believe a nurse even scolded me for walking alone from my bed to the bathroom?! Anyway, while I struggled through this six-week period of being more in the role of “care receiver” rather than “caregiver,” this “valley” served as a great time of reflection, offering numerous hours for me to examine my life and realign my priorities in pursuit of the Lord’s will.
Now, in our area, we serve greatly as primary caregivers by medicating, feeding, and nurturing our patients. Many of them are not even aware or do not recall our services in the days to come. However, there is one group that does—their loved ones. They wait in the lounge for endless periods, longing for updates from the medical team. They spend many hours at the bedside, listening, watching, and praying for a miracle. It’s in these “valleys” where several of them begin reflecting on the memories shared with the one lying in the bed and become aware of the dreams that probably will never be fulfilled. They watch their loved one leave this earth, and thus, they themselves take the first steps to life alone.