Friday, April 8, 2011

Physically impossible

He was 70 or 80-something, slouched in the passenger seat in front of the car and staring straight ahead. He was there when I slowly mobilized my three younger kids into the grocery store yesterday, and still there when we rolled through the parking lot twenty minutes later, four gallons of milk and three loaves of bread heavier. How could you leave him in the car for so long?

And then I realized - maybe it's physically impossible for her to take him in, yet also impossible to leave him home alone. Maybe it was walking through the grocery store teeming with the over 70 set, many in pairs, many barely able to walk, that made me think twice. Maybe its my current almost-physically-impossible state of taking 1.5 year old twins out that helped compassion flicker.

Without a stroller, I literally can't go safely go anywhere with them, and they're almost more than I can hold all at once. If I want to shop for any more than will fit under the stroller (read: most any grocery trip or Target trip), it involves a delicate (BUMBLING!) push-stroller-pull-cart thing. Never mind extra-curricular outings like the park, zoo, museum, library, public restroom. They're all either a major project or major physical impossibility or safety hazard. Poor me.

But what if the person in my care was an elderly spouse, who couldn't be pushed in a stroller, even if I had the strength? Or a special needs kid far over the age of 1, whom I might barely push-pull around and but would also feel like such a spectacle? Especially if my kid decided to have a meltdown mid-trip. Or just a chronically sick parent or child? You can't leave them home alone. So how would I buy milk, go for a walk, buy clothes, go do almost anything we call "fun"? For these caretakers, it is pretty much physically impossible. (And their caring goes on for years.) I don't know, I never thought about it before.

God, give me a heart to see, love, and help those who have the difficult task of taking care of others.


Don said...

I heard a quote that gave me pause, "Everybody's actions make sense to them." It's much harder to cultivate judgement, than it is to pass judgement. Usually, things are the way they are, because they got that way, and for good reason. Most of the time, people are doing the best they can with what they've got.

I enjoyed your post.

(Not written from within a car.)

danielle said...

in other words, you miss me. :)

joanna said...

true (Dad) and true (Danielle)!

Don said...

I like the updated profile.