The life of a caregiver has its ups and downs, its rewards and challenges. The spiritual practice of Silence and Solitude has been life giving to me as I care for my 94-year-old mom who lives with my husband and me.
In December, I attended an overnight Silent Retreat held in a retreat center in the surrounding beauty of wooded paths and meandering stream. Knowing I had been neglecting caring for myself, I signed up for a gentle yoga class. Our instructor taught us a pose she called the Ta Da stance, because it reflects how a little child runs into a room with enthusiasm, lifting up her arms and announcing she’s here with a loud, TA DA! At that moment, I realized I had lost my Ta Da.
In the surrounding beauty, I walked along one of the wooded paths, seeking God and listening for his voice to me. Fear about the future and doubt about my abilities as a caregiver had been filling my thoughts following a stressful time of decision making concerning my mom’s health insurance. God’s gentle voice reminded me that He’s with me on this journey and that I can fully trust him. Right there on the path, I surrendered to him my doubts and my fears and joy filled me. You could say that I retrieved my Ta Da! At that moment, my hands went up and a smile on my face as I remembered the interior freedom that comes with surrendering. I was filled with renewed confidence in my love for my mom and grateful for the gift it is to share this journey with her.
Before leaving the retreat, I wrote these words on a smooth stone, “Ta Da.” On the occasion that I might once again forget what is true, I will hold this stone in my hand and remember.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalms 34:4-5 (NIV)
Lord, as I let go of the need to know, and of the fear of inadequacy, fill me with your peace and joy, and let my soul rest in you.