Yesterday Alex and I graded our students’ final papers for the course we co-teach at Western Oregon University. One student wrote about her mother’s experience of caring for a special needs child. This is what she said:

“My best way to define caregiving for a special needs child is this; the more we serve, the more we love. So by the very nature of the situation, when you have a special needs child, you have to serve so much more than you do with a child that’s independent and can do for themselves. So through that sacrifice of serving, you love deeply. I don’t know how. I don’t know why. It just happens. It’s not that I love her more than you or your brother, it’s just different. The offset is that it’s exhausting, but maybe it’s God’s way of compensation.”

I have always believed that in times of adversity we have the opportunity to grow mentally and spiritually. I hadn’t considered the fact that the more we give, the more we love. It’s a beautiful thought, and I wanted to share it with you.

If you are spending a great deal of your time, effort and energy on caring for someone who cannot care for him/herself, I hope you will take a moment to reflect on how serving another person is changing you and making you grow. My hope is that all the love you give to others comes back and fills your heart to the point of overflowing.

Nothing will ever make this job easy, but in moments of great stress, love may be the only thing that keeps us grounded and gives us the strength to do what needs to be done.