One caregiving tool we haven’t mentioned too much is prayer. We pray for our loved one. We pray for the aging parent. We pray for the health care people. We pray for our lives to get better. We pray for God’s will to be done. We pray for us all. I would like to give a personal example of the power and the gift of prayer.
Carol and I are just back from New York, where we visited relatives and celebrated Carol’s birthday. New York is festive this time of year, with Christmas preparations in high gear. Hanukkah was underway, with menorahs everywhere. Times Square was full of people and the lighted signs were overwhelming to this small town native.
On Sunday, we went to a piano concert at the Lincoln Center. Stephen Prutsman played a program of Bach pieces alternating with compositions dating from the 17th century to the present. As Mr. Prutsman played Prelude and Fugue in D major, I found myself praying for a seriously ill friend I have written about previously. I began by praying for my friend to be better. I also found myself praying for his family and for myself. The music shifted to a recent Gospel piece, Goin’ Up Yonder, by Walter Hawkins then to Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp major. As the music pierced my soul, my prayer became “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy” over and over.
The prayer was not just for me, my friend and his family, but for us all. Tears ran down my face as I felt the beauty of the music and the immensity of God’s grace. The concert was one of those life-transforming experiences I have from time to time.
One of the things that helped that experience come about was New York itself. The popular image of New Yorkers is that they are busy, cold, brusque, and rude. Not so at all. I was struck by the friendliness and helpfulness of the diverse and interesting people. It felt good to me to be among them. I am sure that the positive mood I got from the people of New York helped bring me to pray during the concert. I know that my prayers were heard, and that we all will gain.
As caregivers, prayer can affect those we care for. I ask for what is best for the loved one. I ask for God’s will, not mine, in the situation. I ask for mercy for all. I ask for mercy for you and those you care for.