” But of course I care!!” I can remember people saying this to me in my misunderstood teen years when I felt no one cared. I’ve even said it to my children in the same way. But saying it and showing it are two different things.
What is caring? Is it an emotion? Is it a physical act? Maybe it’s both? I would describe myself as a caring person, but does that mean I actually am?
I care about my family, my wonderful husband and children. They know I care through the things that I do for them; cooking, cleaning, nursing them when they’re poorly, making sure they have what they need when they need it. I also care for them emotionally through the things I say and by just being there to hug them and listen when all seems rubbish. These are ‘symptoms’ of caring. It’s almost impossible NOT to care for them, I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing when there are things that they need. With family though, caring is intrinsically linked to love. It’s my love for them that drives me to care for them.
What about other people though, those outside of our family? Friends and neighbours, strangers in the street? Should we care for these people too? I find my desire to care for people overwhelming at times regardless of whether I know them or not, especially if I’m aware of suffering, unhappiness, distress or illness. Some of my jobs have historically been based on caring for ‘strangers’ ~ Nursing, Teaching Assistant. It’s actually really easy to care for people who are vulnerable and obviously in need. But what about the people we don’t like or who don’t appear to ‘deserve’ our care? Should we still care for them? Well yes, I think we should, if they’re receptive to that. I remember nursing people with quite severe dementia, they really don’t want your care most of the time and can make that very clear in quite an aggressive way. It doesn’t stop you caring for them though, you just have to be sneaky about it. I wonder if caring for those outside of our family is still linked to love. For me it is, however it’s not so much my love but the love of Christ working through me. It’s simple, God loves me and I share that love around.
Caring is what makes the day tick really, I care about my house and appreciate what I have so I like to look after it and keep it nice. The same goes for our planet, it’s caring that makes us recycle, reuse and reduce. In fact, if we didn’t care we’d never get out of bed in the mornings, well I probably wouldn’t. It’s caring about the day ahead and the people in it that motivates us to face the day.
Do I care about God? Hmmm that’s a biggie and does He really need me to care about Him? I suspect He probably doesn’t. What He needs me to do is to love Him and to show His love to others through the things that I do and say. What God needs from me are my faith, my fidelity, my thanksgiving and my worship/prayers, He doesn’t need me to look after Him. All that said, I do care very deeply about my faith [my relationship with God], about how it shapes and defines me, and what it says about me. It’s very important that what people see reflects that side of me and shows God in a positive light. This is becoming increasingly important in a time when religion per se is getting a pretty bad rap.
The one amazing thing about caring for others is that anyone can do it. As the image above says, you don’t have to be rich or talented you just have to want to. It’s a daily choice and it’s one I make willingly.