A Caregiver Reflects on Lent


Anticipation of Lent

As I anticipate Lent this year, I recall a favorite hymn, Hosea, published by the Benedictines of Weston Priory in 1972. While the lyrics invite us to “come home,” its simple melody soothes. “Long have I waited for your coming home to me” says the Lord. The invitation to be led to the wilderness is gentle, and the promise of peace, joy and new life in the Lord speak to my own longings.


1. Come back to me with all your heart.
Don’t let fear keep us apart.
Trees do bend, though straight and tall;
so must we to others’ call.
Long have I waited for your coming home to me
and living deeply our new life.

2. The wilderness will lead you to your heart where I will speak.
Integrity and justice with tenderness you shall know.
Long have I waited for your coming home to me
and living deeply our new life.

3. You shall sleep secure with peace;
faithfulness will be your joy.
Long have I waited for your coming home to me
and living deeply our new life.

Repeat Verse 1.

©1972, 1994 The Benedictine Foundation of the State of Vermont, Inc.

Yes, Lord, you have called me to bend to another’s call this year, you have asked me to be a caregiver for my spouse. It has been more “wildness” than “wilderness.” It has been an endless circus of new symptoms, medical and therapy appointments, medication side-effects, surgeries, falls, cognitive changes, pain, delirium, and progression of illness, each made worse by our “health care” system. Have you forgotten you have also called me to work full time?

And it has also been an endless parade of grace and goodness: surprising symptom relief and good days (Wow, he fixed supper! He played with our dog, Chloe, today and didn’t fall! He has an appetite! He went out with a friend!). There have been generous offers and compassion from the most unlikely corners as well as family, friends and coworkers, and health care providers with wisdom and good sense in the midst of being tied down by bureaucracy.

Yes, it has been a wild and wonderful year. Somehow, in ways I am yet to discover, through all of this, you are calling me “home;” inviting me to peace, joy, and a deeper life in you, as the hymn pleads. This Lent you again invite me to bend.... I don’t know what that will mean but sometimes I fear I will break. How much more can I do? Where will I find the time? But I know that is not what you mean...The lyrics might as well be “don’t let your sense of responsibility keep us apart.” It’s not about the “doing” at all. Measuring out time is not a spiritual practice, as time is abundant - infinite even - in divine life, and God only needs a moment to accomplish God’s intention.
I am actually somewhat eager as I anticipate Lent. God of Love, I look forward to this time.... how will you bless, free, and liberate me in the midst of ALL THIS? Help me to notice, too, how you are liberating us ALL!

Diane Jorgensen

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