The Lost Art of Caring

I’ve spent the majority of my life caring for others. As a kid, I helped care for my disabled parents (although not nearly as much as my brothers). This extended to some of their friends and relatives who were also disabled. Then I joined scouts and found myself caring for younger kids while working at a camp for six summers. Then I joined the army for 8 years, gained rank fairly quickly, and cared for the soldiers under my charge. Then I became a husband and father…that has no time limit. Then I became a social worker.

None of this is a complaint. It’s the path God chose for me and I embraced it. Now, however, I’m tired…not of my family, but of all the caring. I used to think we’re allotted a certain amount of caring and we eventually learn to use it wisely or burn out. Let’s face it, you get burned a lot. I began to think, “Maybe if I didn’t care so much, I wouldn’t be so tired.” So I tried to quit caring.

The problem is, my wife cares still. There is no way to shut off her caring mechanism. At times, I watch as she gets burned by somebody she helped. At first, she’ll swear to never help another person. She’ll be frustrated, angry, remorseful, sad, and confused. Then the next person needing help will come along and she’ll do it all over again. In this process, I begin to care again. I’ll joke around and say I’m only supporting my wife, whom I love and adore (plus, she comes with the added bonuses of being pretty and smelling good), but the truth is, I still care.

The point of this writing is not to brag about caring, although it seems to be abnormal in our country today, but rather the point is…well, I forgot the point. I just know that our current environment in this country is to only care about ourselves. We have become so calloused and self-centered, that we fail to understand what’s going on around us. We have become desensitized to bad things, bad people, and bad events that would’ve alarmed us only 20 years ago. We seem to no longer have a sense of ourselves as a country.

Now, this is not a political statement. It is so easy to blame a single politician or president for all of this, either the current one or the last few. The truth is, we’ve been heading in this direction for a while. We are degrading as a massive group. My wife is fond of saying, “Every great empire eventually implodes from within.” Are we imploding?

Now, I hear some of you saying, “But Dazeodrew? What’s so funny about this writing? You’re supposed to be funny! I didn’t sign up to follow you to be lectured on caring! I just don’t care!”

(Pause).

Sorry about that pause in my writing…I thought I smelt freshly baked cookies somewhere. I took a walk through the house, nothing. I stepped outside and meandered around the neighbors, nothing again. No cookies. Anyway, the last time I thought I smelt cookies it turned out to be a snickerdoodle candle. Can you believe that cruelty? It’s like people just don’t CARE how they make you feel when they light those things! Do we really need a snickerdoodle candle? Or apple cobbler!? Or blueberry muffin!?!? OR PUMPKIN PIE!!!???!!!???

Anyway, it’s time for a possible moral to this writing. Here it is: If we can care so much to make our homes smell like food without the food (stupid candles), why can’t we care enough to make less fortunate people have homes that also smell like food, but with food? I’ll bet it would cost less than that stupid food-smelling candle…especially the snickerdoodle one!

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