A few years ago someone shared with me the wisdom, “Discover the well before you are thirsty.” This message seems especially true for those impacted by the daily challenges of living with a chronic situation. Caregivers and those living with a chronic disease are nurtured as they consistently engage the activities, people and environments where their spirit is filled. A caregiver cannot continue to give from a place of compassion if he/she has not taken time for self-care. One living with chronic illness cannot expect to carry hope on the dark days if the daily regiment includes very little that brings joy and life. Life is hard, and our wells can dry out before we are even aware of it. Once we find ourselves living life from a place of internal emptiness, it is very difficult to fill up without totally retreating from life.
When I teach spiritual practices and establishing a personal spiritual rhythm, I am often greeted with silence when I ask, “What fills you?” Some know what fills them but deem it unrealistic due to time, expense, or friends and family who make it difficult for them to be motivated for their own self care. They have been taught to believe self-care is frivolous and selfish. Others have no idea what fills them, and have never stopped to consider that God would want to quench their thirst while they simultaneously care for others.
If you have found your way to this blog, it is likely that you are impacted by chronic disease. If you are the one with a diagnosis, you are more than your medical condition and life is more than the immediate challenge you woke up with today. Drink from your well. If you are a loved one in a caregiving role, self-care is vital if you want to be in this for the long run. Drink from your well. If you are a chaplain, spiritual director, therapist, medical provider or other caregiving professional, those you tend to need you to care for them from a place of abundance, not exhaustion. Drink from your well.
Choose life this day and watch how your heart, and the people around you, are impacted as a result. It will make a difference.
Peace to you this day.