I came across this serenity prayer for caregivers. I was so moved by it that I felt led to share it with you. I thank God for my beautiful wife, Karen, who is my main caregiver. With all the challenges to my energy, mobility, focus, the functioning of my body and memory that my extremely rare allergy cell disease mastocytosis presents, Karen has always been there encouraging and challenging me to be the best I can be. In this allergy cell condition, my mast cells don’t work right. Mast cells are those cells necessary for life that are in your immune system and throughout your body tissues. We all need mast cells to survive. In my case, it’s too much of a good thing where these mast cells keep increasing that are irregular in shape and size. Karen tells people it’s like having allergy on steroids. I tell people it’s like having a neighborhood block party that’s out of control.
Please share this open letter with those you think would be touched by it. Let us all be thankful for caregivers and the loved ones they are there for. Let us be there for the caregiver and the ones they help. Just listening to them and helping with practical things like sending over some meals once in a while can make a huge difference. They will feel that you care. They will not feel so alone in their struggles. They will be able to take time to laugh and enjoy the blessing that is you.
Now, I have a message for Karen that I’m giving to her as a surprise gift.
Karen, thanks for nights too numerous to count when you laid your weary head on the bottom of my hospital bed. You prayed I would be alive in the morning after having a breathing tube put down my throat because of anaphylaxis, and being placed on a ventilator to breathe. When I had my breathing tube taken out, you held me and kissed me. I was glad to be alive because when I was conscious your eyes filled with love made me feel thankful for the gift of life. I became more keenly aware of how each breath we breathe is a gift from God.
My health has improved in so many ways because of how you love me with God’s love in you, and the medical care I have been receiving. We both know human love would not have carried us this far; it would have buckled under the pressure of life’s struggles.
My precious darling, I thank God for the blessing that is you. In those times when you feel the weight of the cross you carry, I pray you will remember you never carry it alone. Christ who gave His life for you, me and all of us, carries your cross for you. He knew it would be too heavy for you to carry alone.
Remember that night I was struggling to breathe because of my pneumonia and I breathed this prayer: “Lord, I thank You for the gift of coming closer to You?” That was the wise advice Papa (religious name Patriarch Paul) gave me. Darling, I felt so close to our savior then. It was like His arms wrapped around me, comforting me, making me feel so loved.
My sweet butterfly, I loved you from the first day I saw you as that shy person at that Bible study. God had me see that within you lived the desire to be deeply loved and appreciated. You have blossomed so much more into the woman of God He had in mind when He created you. I am so proud of the woman you have become, how you have allowed God to shape you. When it comes to helping others there is a mixture of boldness and grace that pours out of your spirit. This unconditional love can only be from how Christ’s love has embedded itself deeper into your heart.
I love you not merely for what you do as my caregiver, but moreover for who you are. You have come out of your hidden cocoon and matured into this beautiful woman that is a joy to behold and tell others about.
There are so many ways to say love in different languages but the message is still the same — caring for someone more than yourself and becoming someone better because of that person. That is the transforming power of love.
Karen, I am a better man because of you and the many people among my family, friends, colleagues, and strangers I have met on the street, who all have been part of the forming of my character. You are my coach and my cheerleader. Yet, above all of these things, you are my God-given companion.
God bless you richly.
Dr. Kevin James Osborne, D.Sc., D.D., Psy D. Candidate, is the Vice-President of Institutional and Mission Advancement for St. James the Elder University. He was recently named to the office of Chaplain by Most Reverend Heyward B. Ewart Ph.D., Psy.D., D.D., who is the Head of Holy Catholic Church International. Kevin and Karen have a private counseling practice called You Can Hope Again Counselling. Kevin is a Doctorate in Psychology (Psy.D.) candidate at St. James the Elder University. When he graduates, he feels God is leading him to study for a Master of Theology degree in Catholic Theology through St. James the Elder University, in preparation to become a deacon and then a priest with Holy Catholic Church International. Kevin will take that longer journey to doctoral studies in theology in preparation to become a professor integrating psychology with theology. Karen plans to take graduate studies in psychology and theology. Our journey is all about being servants of Christ’s love to others.