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Care-giving and taking

From the September 1998 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Are you a caregiver? Many people find themselves in this role today, whether it be for small children, elderly relatives, friends, or someone with special needs. Also, many governmental and private organizations exist to provide for the needs of senior citizens at one end of the spectrum, and at the other, for young children of working parents. How do we become better able to fulfill our individual roles in giving care to others and do it with more confident assurance, without strain or stress? By learning more of God, our divine Parent, the one great caregiver, who bears us on strong pinions of Love, providing constant support.

The premise for such liberating care-giving is radically different from the concept of man as either an immature mortal or an aging person whose physical, mental, and emotional needs are to be met by human caretakers. To refresh and enliven our work in taking care of others calls for a spiritually scientific view of man and of the divine source from which care emanates. Insight into this concept of care can be found in Science and Health. In the Glossary of this book, the author, Mary Baker Eddy, offers metaphysical interpretations of Bible terms. A phrase in one of these interpretations is particularly pertinent to this discussion. Japhet, Noah's son, is described in this way: "A type of spiritual peace, flowing from the understanding that God is the divine Principle of all existence, and that man is His idea, the child of His care." Science and Health, p. 589

All who are involved in the ministry of caregiving, whether it be to children, relatives, friends, or to patients, can be at peace, free from anxiety, uncertainty, strain, or burden in the proportion that it's realized that man is "the child of His care." Naturally, this doesn't free us from responsibility or from the need to fulfill our duties conscientiously. But it does free us to respond intelligently and lovingly to God's ability to care for His beloved idea, man.

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