One of the hardest things for me in being a caretaker is being patient with Mom. I pray for patience on a daily basis and I know God hears me...
One morning I had to get up very early...way too early...while the entire house was still dark early. Since this is not my usual and customary pattern, I bungled my way toward the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. Thankfully we own of one of the greatest inventions known to man - the programable coffee pot, which conveniently has my "cup o joe" waiting for me each morning (so long as I remember to program it - or put the coffee carafe in place *gasp* the night before) Not wanting to needlessly awaken anyone, I opted to leave the lights off as I slowly stumbled along my way. Now I've lived in this house for 10 years, so finding the kitchen should be easy, even with no illumination. But as I got to what I knew was the kitchen wall, I couldn't find the kitchen light switch! Strange. Where did it go? It was there yesterday. I felt along the wall - not there... I felt higher along the wall - no, not there... I felt lower - not there either. I KNEW I was at the kitchen wall. "The light switch MUST be here", my barely functioning mind said. So as I stretched to reach further along the wall ("just a little farther now") I found myself falling into the our living room, landing on an end table and in a state of total confusion. [Our home was built in the 1960's and has one of those "sunken living rooms". Is it too late to sue the architect for negligent design?] All the commotion brought my husband out, turning on a light to check on me. Turns out that in my disoriented state, I stopped 5 feet short of the kitchen wall and was only at the living room wall, so that when I moved into what I thought was the kitchen, I actually fell into the sunken living room. Fortunately, my pride was the only thing really hurt.
So what was my REAL problem? No, it wasn't that I forgot to put the coffee carafe place in place - not this time, anyway. My problem was that, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get my disoriented mind to orient itself!
I share this story because it was one of those lightbulb moments for me. I realized that this must be how my mom feels most of the time! No matter how hard she tries, she can not make her disoriented mind orient itself. And she is lives in hurt and frustration because of this.
"A patient man has great understanding..." (Proverbs 14.29)
I still pray for patience, but I find that if I have understanding, it is not as hard to be patient. I try to remember that Mom does the best she can. Her mind simply doesn't work like it once did. And while I wish that it did, she wishes it even more.
So now I try harder to really understand, not just my mom, but others. What are their feelings? thoughts? motives? It is far too easy to see someone's actions and simply react - and usually in a way you regret! It is much harder - but beneficial - to understand.