A wise woman at my church once said, “Just because you’re doing little things, doesn’t mean you are doing insignificant things.”
I need to remember that.
I didn’t question myself so much when my home was overflowing with six young, noisy children that needed loving and parenting and homeschooling. And I was doing some extra child care, running a small home business, and volunteering at church.
Now my kids are grown. I’m still driving my youngest around a lot, but before you know it she’ll get a car and a license and that task will fade away as the homeschooling already has.
I keep praying about finding a job and saving money for retirement.
And then I look at my calendar and wonder—how do I fit a job around bringing my parents to the doctor, bringing my mother-in-law to the doctor, giving mom baths, and Annie rides, and cleaning and cooking and errands and church ministry and husband and friends.
I know many people juggle jobs with it all, but I don’t know how they do it. They are stronger people than I am.
I was praying about it a couple of weeks ago, and I had the impression that God was whispering, “Don’t invalidate the work I’m giving you now.”
And I have to remind myself of that, when I’m over at Mom’s picking up Kleenexes that are thrown all over the floor and scraping glops of food (and other glops we won’t speak of) off the carpeting.
It’s not pretty work, but it is real and needed.
When I’m giving Mom baths, and she’s shouting and hollering at me, I need to remember, this is the job that I am blessed to be able to do now. I’m thankful my mom is still with me. I’m thankful I have the health and ability to help her. I’m thankful that I live close enough to be here for Mom and that my husband is supportive of me using my time this way.
It’s not pretty work, but it’s real and needed.
There is a satisfaction and a comfort to be found in caring for those we love. There is a blessing in being content with the tasks God has given us for now. Jesus gave us the example of washing His disciples’ feet. We are walking in His footsteps when we also do the humble jobs of caring for others in the simple, small things.
So much of life with Alzheimer’s is like that. It’s not pretty work, but it’s real and needed.
And someday this job, just like my job of parenting young children and homeschooling, will come to a close. And I’ll look back and be so grateful that I was with Mom as much as I was, and that I muddled through it all somehow with God’s help, and that I have the memories to hold close in my heart.
And I’ll know then, without a doubt, that just because I did a lot of little things, doesn’t mean they were insignificant.
Update: I wrote this in 2013. Now our nest is empty and all our parents are with Jesus. Looking back I’m thankful for the little things I did do. And I sometimes regret the ones I didn’t.
And I look at this new stage of life. And I pray that I will be sensitive to God’s leading and faithful to do all the little things He prompts me to do. With all of the grace that He gives for each day.