C.A.R.E

Nov 07, 2015

C.A.R.E

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16th_Floor_Waiting_RoomI have now waited in hospitals on four occasions to know whether the love of my life, my wife Treena, was going to live or die.

It has never been without the stress that must accompany watching a loved one in physical distress. However, on three occasions it has got me searching for creative ways to help her avoid the harm that causes such pain.

Frankly, I don’t know how I would ever had had the depth of devotion needed to keep on searching for new solutions had it not been for these traumatic experiences.

I want you to know about these events because then you may understand me when I talk about going beyond immediate self-interest.

I am sure that my self-interest is pretty normal. Without it we simply could not survive in this quite dangerous daily environment. Just looking left and right before crossing a road is being immediately self interested but caring for someone else often means putting that self on the back burner.

Several years ago I stumbled over yet another acronym – this one for the word care that became C.A.R.E and spelled out (at least for me) the words…Concern, Altruism, Restoration and Enthusiasm.

Just for the record I can give you the dictionary definition for each of these words and then link them into one paragraph that has helped me enormously in my pursuit for answers to many needs…

CONCERN: To have ones mind filled with…
ALTRUISM: A selfless devotion for another person (other than oneself)
RESTORATION: To return something (or someone) to their original design intention.
ENTHUSIASM: The Greek word ‘en theos’ meaning ‘in God’.

So here it is:

To care is to have ones mind filled with a selfless devotion for another person (so that they can be) returned to their original design intention…in God.

My take on this is that the original design intention of everything has, at its core, the word resilient and even though all matter degrades over time (entropy) there is overwhelming evidence of natural ‘bounce back’ or what we may see as healing.

This is why I am so committed to replace harm with healing, especially since I have been a witness to that creative process under extremely trying circumstances.

I do hope that my small CARE contribution may help you in your search for a more creative lifestyle for yourself and those you love.

It was on the forth hospital event that circumstances moved rapidly beyond our lifestyle control.

Treena had gone in for a simple day surgery of less than half an hour. She came home and about six hours later began to experience a severe infection that eventually took her life.

My devotion to her was matched by her love for me. Whatever we did we achieved together…for each other’s sake.

We had a very full and rewarding life and the last twenty eight years (from her 53rd year to 81) was gained by simply seeking to do less harm to each other and to link our savings to other people’s severe distress.

Treena did not lose the battle, her multiple acts of self-discipline and self-sacrifice have made her an amazing “Flash of Silver” to be admired right up until the end. My work is now to pass on what we achieved as partners in purpose.

14 Comments

  1. Jon Stevens Says: November 9, 2015 11:42 am

    Your definition of CARE makes complete sense to me. The more I get myself out of the equation, the more Jesus can come in and do what really needs doing, not what I think (in my human vanity) should be done. I would be curious as to what your thoughts are on why we care. Now we understand the what of caring, next might be the why. – Happy Hoeing for Him in Mexico, Jon

  2. Steve VanDerschelden Says: November 9, 2015 12:30 pm

    Thank you

  3. Elizabeth Says: November 9, 2015 4:51 pm

    Beautiful, Graham! THANK you for sharing 🙂 Your joy for and in one another is inspirational to all of us. It’s so difficult to lose those we love. I lost both my parents before age 25, now my best friend (my dog, Buddy) is 11 years old and not doing so well. I’ll keep CARE in mind as I face difficult times in my life. I’ve always admired your enthusiasm and joy. Blessings <3

  4. Sammi Says: November 9, 2015 6:08 pm

    It is never a coincidence when a topic is presented to me by multiple sources in a short period of time. I have been under a cloud for a while, many days hard to find a reason to care. I will embrace this definition. Thank you Graham.

  5. Susan Meyer Says: November 9, 2015 11:34 pm

    Thank you for your comments. I remember being there for my parents when they started having health issues. Thank goodness my places of employment were understanding. My father passed away from complications due to Alzheimer’s. My mom died 19 months later from 2 uti’s (her doctor didn’t do what he needed to do, at her last visit, and she was called Home 4 days later). I wish I would have known she was going to be gone before it happened as I would have did more with her, etc. My daughter, at age 24, was murdered. What else can I say? We did many things together and were very close. I wish I would have visited her at her job the day before she, too, was called Home. I’ve had to learn to appreciate everything God has given me and to be more aware of the injustice in society. I’m more vocal about many things and I always hope (and pray) that maybe someone who is in an abusive relationship reads the story of my daughter (or reads my comments I write regarding different news events) and will get out of said relationship. My daughter really would have made a difference in this world. Thanks, again, and God bless!

  6. Dianne Says: November 10, 2015 12:46 pm

    I know none of us wants to leave our loved ones, the only solace we have is knowing our loved ones are now not suffering, & are face to face with God, I didn’t know Treena well, but whenever we did meet, I always felt warmth & acceptance from her, so sorry that she’s gone But she’ll always be in my mind & heart, stay happy in Christ & God Bless always.

  7. Lana Says: November 10, 2015 6:16 pm

    Your voice is so very important, Graham. It is critical that you continue to gift the world with your thought and perspective. Thank you for caring beyond yourself. I need this care and C.A.R.E. Others surely need it from me, as well

  8. Gina and Vince Pendley Says: November 10, 2015 10:42 pm

    Dear Mr. Kerr,

    Our hearts grieve for you. We are very sorry to hear of your beloved wife’s departing. The work that both of you shared over the years has brought joy into our home. Whenever we speak of your shows and your cheerfulness, we always smile. The healthy meals that you designed for Mrs. Kerr and shared with the world grace our family’s table, too. They are our children’s favorites! We also believe in the faith that you profess and believe that God holds us forever in His lovingkindness in this world and the world to come. May you have peace and comfort. Our prayers are with you and your family.

  9. Mary Lou Childs Says: November 17, 2015 9:22 pm

    What you talk of as CARE, I have called for years “Getting outside yourself.” The focus is not inward but outward. To the people in your life this reveals itself as acts of service, giving in various ways including money or time or effort, focusing on the needs of others more than your own, praying for and with people, etc. On a person-to-person level with my husband of 30 years I tell him I am his “wingman.” I am devoted to him, helping him through life and seeing to it that he can accomplish the mission without being shot down. I have had a lot more opportunities to be his wingman than the other way around, though, because we were married when I was 31 and he was 62 and a very young widower. You find out what you are really made of during the most difficult challenges in life much more so than when things are easy. One such time was when Ed had a major open heart surgery in 2000. It was after this that Ed accepted Jesus as his savior so it all worked for the good. Five years earlier I had done the same. /// I have had a dream for the past 25+ years (with file folders to prove it) that one day I will join with others who would like to live in a collection of “tiny homes.” These are all the rage now but years ago the thought about homes was the bigger the better. I am soooo enthusiastic about this idea and want to include all kinds of “green” ideas. I am thinking it would be for Christians who are dedicated to CARE for one another as we get older. The focus of life is outside oneself and not on our “stuff.” I have so many ideas about this and know I am going to do this one day! I feel this is a job that God made for me to do. One more “Flash of Silver” in the world along with a “school” of other “fishes!” (See: Ichthys — the ancient symbol for Christians)

  10. Jim Guckert Says: November 19, 2015 3:30 am

    Such a powerful message and one that resounds so deeply within me as I face the challenges a dear loved one is experiencing.

    One thing that I do want to raise, which is not contrary to what is said but is part of the whole process, focusing outside of oneself and taking care of someone else cannot happen (at least for long) if one does not take care of themselves first. It may seem a bit selfish to say but unless we keep a part of our focus on ourselves to keep ourselves healthy then we won’t be effective caregivers for others.

  11. Graham Says: November 20, 2015 7:43 am

    My Dear Jim, I hear you loud and clear and did, over the past 28 years of caregiving, do exactly that. I climbed into the same foxhole and ate as she did. I exercised, come rain or shine with the express intent to be well enough for her.
    I also refused a good number of invitations to join in some groups that were strong activists…in order to avoid the tensions.
    All said and done I am now almost 82 ( Jan 22). I sleep an average of 8.5 hours ( 50%) deep. I take no meds or supplements and have always found a minimum of 2 hours a day to meditate and pray for guidance.
    Now that I am ‘alone’ I shall see if there are others that somehow I may help whilst there is still a river up ahead.

    Thanks for making the need to be well so important to us all.
    May your daily care be a joy in a special corner of your heart.

    Upstreaming. Until the end, Graham.

  12. Jean N Sozio Says: November 22, 2015 3:48 am

    Wow – Alleluia. I suffer from chronic infections and have been hospitalized numerous times. It’s really not so bad as the patient – you have “care”, rest, relief. This makes me more aware of the anguish of my loving husband and caregiver who must hang on ever so much more tightly than myself – all with a gleaming smile and reassurance. Knowing Jesus, and praying for each other, makes the dance sustainable.

  13. Jean N Sozio Says: November 22, 2015 4:42 am

    You are spectacular!! You know she has gone ahead to your new mansion.

  14. Mary Lou Childs Says: November 22, 2015 9:09 pm

    Yes, Jim, I agree with you. It is very important to maintain one’s own health if we wish to be able to care for another. Sometimes that even means taking a break and letting others take over for a little while. /// When I commented on “focusing outside of ourselves” I was thinking about a family member who always focused inwardly, solely on her own problems, to the point that she made herself sick physically and had a sour attitude about almost everything. She wasn’t a caregiver who needed to maintain her health to care for another. I think she would have felt much better about life, and her health would have actually improved, if she had found a way to help others or be of service — to get outside herself and focus outwardly. If she served others who did not have even their basic needs met she might have seen how fortunate she was to live in a nice home with plenty of food, etc. /// I will keep you and your dear loved one in my prayers, Jim. It sounds like a platitude, but God can use it all for the good. He certainly did that with my husband when he had a very tough and painful open heart surgery 15 years ago so I have seen it happen in our lives.

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