A world in peril is one where its citizens focus more on their rights than on their responsibilities, prioritize getting and acquiring over giving and serving. Our challenges are collective. So must be our solutions, our focus and our care. This simple vision for caring, I imagine as a circle, many of us moving through these different places at different times. If we accept the responsibility of taking care of each other, really taking care of each other, some of the challenge lays in discerning, moment by moment, where we are in this circle of care.
If you are able to take care of others, you must.
You have the means and the ability. You have knowledge or talent or gifts. Give them up. You have resources or networks or vision for change. Share them. Offer what you have. Take care of others, your family, your neighbours, strangers and foes. As far as your reach will stretch…go there.
If you cannot take care of others, take care of yourself.
Being honest about what you can and cannot do, take good care of yourself. Use the resources of others as it helps you grow into someone who can reach beyond the care of self to care for more. Take care of your body and your heart. Take care of your responsibilities. Take care of yourself with the vision and promise that when you are able, you will take care of others. And for now, you will tenderly and consistently do what it takes to really take care of yourself.
If you cannot take care of yourself, ask for help.
You’re stumbling or stuck. You’re hungry or sick. What you’ve tried hasn’t worked. You may not have the mind or heart, knowhow or opportunity. You know you can’t take care of yourself on your own. Find resources, find kindness, find generosity. Ask. Seek help. Open to help. Accept help with the vision and promise that one day you may be able to take care of yourself.
If you cannot take care of yourself and you cannot ask for help.
By some grace, may you be found and without having to offer word or welcome, be lifted and held. Here is where we see the grave importance of those who are able to take care of others. Here, your responsibility is that of being the direction in which care flows. The heart’s yearning to give fully and selflessly finds refuge in you.