My life is a constant marathon of serving other people. My day job is taking care of an elderly lady in her home. My mornings and evenings and often nights are spent helping care for my three children and doing my darnedest to support my husband's music career. Both Brad and I try to be available to support others as well, be it through attending shows, lending an ear, making a meal or providing a couch to crash on. This is not some special feat, or some big mission we're on to change the world. It's just who we are. We love people and try to do so as practically as possible.
Sometimes my job is hard. Sometimes loving on my kids is hard. Sometimes being married to a musician is really hard. Loving others outside of my inner circle...that's hard sometimes, too. More often than not, though, it's the mundane, repetitive things that are the hardest for me. Giving someone money when they need it? Easy. Living life with others, getting let down, those things are the hardest. It's why marriage is so difficult. Being in for the long-haul is where the rubber meets the road and I am often surprised at how little tread I've got on my tires. I do think so highly of myself sometimes.
Love is hard and love attracts all kinds. Once you open up yourself to this idea that you're going to live in love--and I mean real love--what you've done is open a jar of honey that many will be drawn to. What I've learned is this: If you're going to love for real be ready to deal with flies and angry bears.
The crux of living a life in love is that you offer up yourself to be exposed to the vicious and the gentle, the bitter and the kind--sometimes in the same person. If you hide yourself from the wolves you hide yourself from the doves. If we learn to live under the assumption that the only real collateral damage of truly loving others will be our own pride we can be much more bold in our pursuit of others beyond our own short sighted agenda. For being truly loving is, in itself, it's own armor.
I am no Mother Theresa. I all too often want something in return, I want results, I want to see the fruit of my labor. Working with Millie has helped me to see that. Millie has dementia and I cannot make it better. All I can do is go moment by moment and make each of those minuscule amounts of time the best they can be for her.
This is, really, all we can hope to do for anyone.