IMG_1380The Chinese Philosopher, Lao Tzu said, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

This statement made me think of a caregiver – care receiver relationship. It takes a lot of love to put your own needs and desires on hold in order to care for someone who is recovering from an illness or accident. When you know that recovery isn’t possible, it takes an amazing amount of courage to see the journey through to the end, especially when pain, disease, depression or dementia causes your care receiver to act in a manner that is anything but lovable.

When care receivers are feeling weak and needy, it can be hard for them to believe that they are worthy of being loved deeply. It’s humbling and embarrassing for them to need help getting on and off of the toilet, in and out of their clothes, and in and out of bed. When you’re feeling vulnerable and indebted, it takes an enormous amount of emotional strength to graciously accept the help you need.

I think Lao Tzu got it right. Love isn’t about romance, or passion or ardor. I don’t suppose it matters much whether your the one giving care or the one receiving it, you’re going to need all the strength and courage love provides in order to continue on this journey.