John O’Leary celebrates two caregivers, his mom and Live Inspired Podcast guest Richard Lui, and identifies how to celebrate their work.
“Commitment is an act, not a word.” ― Jean-Paul Sartre
We all understand the need to be fully committed to achieve things that matter in life. The tireless work and selfless love actually required, though, are not easily perceived until you are fully in the throes of an experience. Being fully committed is what will carry you through, regardless of the hurdles.
Last week I saw firsthand this transformational power of being fully committed.
“I love you, baby.”
And with those words, she bent down, put on his seatbelt, kissed him, and shut the car door. Mom then walked over to me, gave me a hug, thanked me, and went back inside to get some much-deserved rest.
This interaction took place early last Friday. And, for my parents, it had been a long morning preparing for Dad’s 5:30 AM surgery.
Leading up to the surgery, I asked Mom if I could take Dad for her. She refused. Eventually, though, she relented and accepted the help.
Did you know that 54 million Americans are caregiving for a loved one?
By the time I arrived on the morning of his surgery, Dad had already gotten out of bed, slid into his wheelchair, used the bathroom, showered, shaved and dressed. Not yet 5 AM, he was seated in their front hall ready to roll when I arrived. How?
Three decades with Parkinson’s disease has made movement for my father nearly impossible. But with the help of another person, guiding him from spot to spot, supporting him in the shower, assisting as he gets dressed, guiding a wheelchair from room to room, the absolute impossible becomes possible. And this care happens all day, every day.
For Dad, the person doing all that work is Mom. She’s remarkable. And she’s not alone.
Each day, more than 54 million Americans are responsible for serving as a caregiver for a loved one.
These caregivers don’t get paid for the frequently physically and emotionally draining job they do every day. These individuals rarely get celebrated for their selfless love and compassionate work. Instead, they simply go about the tasks that need to be done in order that their child, parent, spouse, loved one may remain as independent as possible.
Caregiving is the ultimate example of commitment and selfless love.
My friends, the word ‘commitment’ gets thrown around a lot these days. On athletic fields, in boardrooms, and during office meetings. We hear it from car manufactures, phone carriers, and politicians. They tell us repeatedly they are all committed to us.
But there is a mighty difference between saying we are committed, and actually being committed. Turns out commitment is much more about action than words.
Today, let’s recognize that the work of a committed caregiver can be wildly isolating and absolutely exhausting. Let’s let them know we are aware of all they do and inspired by their love in action. Even more, let’s choose to ask how we can assist them. Picking up groceries, dropping off a meal, or simply sitting with their loved one for a few hours could provide a mighty gift of reprieve.
We must remember that commitment calls for us to take action.
My friends, we are called to multiply our talents, to become the best versions of ourselves and to make a difference for others.
Let’s make sure we don’t just say those words, but live them with the selfless, committed actions of our days. Few show the life-changing power of this commitment better than our caregivers. We are blessed by their example.
This is your day. Live Inspired.
Another shining example of caregiving is Richard Lui, NBC News journalist who put his 30-year career on hold to care for his father with Alzheimer’s. Join our conversation on my most recent Live Inspired Podcast ep. 358 to also hear us celebrate the hidden joys and gifts within caregiving. Click this box to listen now.