Caring for others is a felt-need for all of God’s creations: nature, animals, and men. We were created out of love and in love. We live in harmony together symbiotically. Caring is not merely an obligation but an outward expression of love for another. When a person has love in his heart, it translates into action. He showers his affection on his beloved, making sure that she is truly cared and provided for. It follows that a human being can give love to another in a fraternal and brotherly way, not necessarily romantic or inordinate, always taking care of the welfare of another. Even animals have that instinct to care for their own herd or flock, and even nature cares for its own habitat.
Caring entails emotional, physical, mental and material investment. Caring is not just giving a person a pat on the back or rubbing his pains away but a stepping into that person’s state as though feeling or suffering with him. It is called “empathy”.
Empathy, in the dictionary, means the “ability to understand and share the feelings of another”. It is a natural calling to care and love, always seeking the good of the other. When one transcends from the natural way of caring to a “spiritual dying to one’s self” for the other person, then he espouses divine love, taking after God who is love and from whom love originates. God takes care of us from the beginning till the end of our earthly life and even unto life everlasting. He taught us the way to love, to love like He does, even to the point of giving His life for us.
Why is empathy good for us? For the one cared for, he is given the reassurance that he is in good hands and an optimism to live life with renewed enthusiasm and zest. To the one caring, he is most times sacrificing his own need for the other and letting his priorities for himself come second, albeit burdensome. Seeing the one cared having the stamina to live and move forward gives the carer inner satisfaction and incomparable joy as though his light has dispelled the darkness in the suffering one and his love provided the other a will to live and love again. The carer may have unmet needs and yet he is able to meet the need of the other, and in so doing they both become bonded in kinship. There is an unspoken but rewarding experience derived from such carer-patient, nurturer-nurtured, giver-receiver relationships.
Much is at stake on the part of the carer-nurturer, such as sacrifice of one’s dreams and priorities, more time spent almost and always for the patient and less time for himself, if he is caring for his own family member, missed opportunities for advancement, financial struggles, stress, and mental, emotional and physical exhaustion. Most often, if the carer looks at his plight miserably and grudgingly, he too becomes one wanting to be cared for and released from his burden too. On the more heroic side, the carer is spurred by love and humility of heart like that of St Teresa of Calcutta, who served without counting the cost and considered her patients as gifts of God for her sanctification. She took care of the poor, the sick, the lame, the destitute and the homeless with so much love and abandonment to the will of God. In all these, she found holiness and happiness. She lost herself in this noble cause and earned glory for God. Her secret was a daily encounter with God in adoration, prayer, and worship before and after any task. She, in turn, got more graces and strength to pursue her mission of caring and loving those in need. She burned the world with her love, touching lives and giving back souls to God.
Caring is going out of our own niche, our comfort zones, and walk the way of faith, love, and truth, by being the eyes of the blind, the feet of the lame, the body of the bedridden and the soul of the one in anguish. Caring is bringing out the best in people and ourselves in the process.

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