I'm in Georgia this week taking care of my Mom whose back is giving her lots of pain. (More about that in another post.) Mom is the primary caretaker for my dad, who has very mild dementia but prominent balance problems and doesn't drive anymore, and my 95 year old Aunt Chris who is just frail.
Six months ago, my mom had back surgery, but over the last few months, her back and leg pain have gotten severe again and she has required more help from my brother and his wife who live nearby.
Last night, my aunt was commenting about how she feels bad that she can't "contribute" to the household in the way that she would like. She does provide some financial support for groceries, but she was talking about not being able to pick up some of the physical work that Mom does around the house like cooking and cleaning.
I can appreciate that Aunt Chris wants to be more active in providing for the household. After all, that's what she's done her entire life. Aunt Chris spent her younger years helping her mother to take care of the home and raise her 11 younger siblings (of whom my mom is the youngest). As an adult, she raised her three sons, but also took in nieces and nephews into her home. She and Uncle George were parents to children who needed parents. And I've always known her to be and extremely generous woman who had an active retirement for many years.
Now it's time, though, for the next generation to live out our calling to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Aunt Chris may only be able to provide company right now for Mom, but that's OK. It's my turn to step into the role of taking care of Mom's physical needs, following Aunt Chris' example of many years of living a life of mercy and love.
My aunt and my parents have lived out for me Jesus' command to “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’" (Matthew 22:37-39)
Jesus has showed us such amazing grace through his death and resurrection. Such love can't be repaid, but we can show Jesus' love to those around us. In other words, we can pay it forward. Aunt Chris spent her life showing Jesus' love to the world around here, and now I'm honored to follow in her footsteps.
I John 3:16-18 "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."
Love hard. Love with actions and in truth. Pay it forward.