Caregiving is not for sissies.  Life is made up of tough and tougher stuff.  No one understands that better than a person taking care of an invalid, someone with dementia or other illness’.  Today I am learning praise is not for sissies either.

The whole notion of prayers of praise seems silly and naive right now.  I am watching my client slowly decline in body, mind, and spirit.  My mental state has become sluggish from being home-bound for too long.  My body aches from trying to transfer my client, doing housework, etc.  I am so sleep deprived from getting up several times during the night to check on him/her.   The only phone call today was a reminder of tomorrow’s doctor’s appointment.  I am tired, sad, bored and becoming not thankful for anything.

Today is so cold and rainy.  For several hours now the wind is blowing and been raining on and off.  As I sit and looking out the window watching from within a safe, warm, clean home a childhood memory pops into my head.  I can remember as a little girl playing outside in the puddles and then running inside at the sound of hearing thunder from a distance and Mom waiting with a warm towel, and a cup of hot cocoa with lots of mini marshmallows.  In a matter of minutes I head to the kitchen and make myself and my client a cup of hot cocoa with lots of mini marshmallows.  Each sip melts my gloom and brings a growing awareness of my blessings.  The list is unending; breath, a wonderful job, family, comfort, faith, food, friends, forgiveness, extravagant grace….

It grates on my sensibilities when someone exhorts me with scripture about praising God at all times in all circumstances.  If I would simply make a big mug of hot cocoa smothered with mini marshmallows then I might get the message.  Praise and gratitude cannot be far behind.  you see, praise does not require submission.  It requires awareness.   When I release whatever disturbs, worries, concerns, and upsets me and look at the deeper reality of my circumstances, something happens inside me.  I notice, and then I start to say a prayer of praise for those good things taken for granted but forgotten in the midst of daily challenges.

We can Thank God, thank him for the little things that can comfort us, like a mug of hot chocolate.  And we can thank Him for the moments when we glimpse the good things in our lives.

Psalm 146  Praise the Lord, O soul!…                                                                                                                                                                                                               I will sing praises to my God all my life long…                                                                                                                                                                                               The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down… Praise the Lord!