Thursday, January 6, 2011

Care Giving

I've mention before that I am a caregiver. I have been able to claim this title since 1994 and I am truly thankful that I have had this experience. As strange as that may sound.
Being a caregiver has given me a different focal point for these past years. It has also given me a tether that at times I have struggled against. But, this tether, has also given me a balance that I may not have otherwise had.
I'll try to explain it like this.
I use to run dogs. Snow dogs. I was part of a team, four dogs and myself the musher. I was blessed to a part of  the team for 9 years. We started out with just one dog and one musher and over 4 years we grew. The next 5 years were run with the 5 of us.
During those years I learned a little something about tethers.
A team consists of the dogs, the sled, the harnesses, the gang lines or tethers, and a musher. The dogs of course being the power source, would be of no effect were it not for the harnesses they wear and the tethers that hook them to the sled. One may think that the tethers would just be a means to move the sled and for the most part this is true. However, I have been witness to another effect those tethers allow that, I for one, did not expect.
These tethers, just flexible nylon cords, hooked to the dogs in such a fashion that it helps them with balance. The first time I saw this happen I couldn't believe my eyes. We'd been running on some back roads when we came upon a stretch of really slick stuff. Stuff that I would have had trouble standing up on. The dogs gripped the hard pack with their toes nails. I watched as each one bared their toes to get their traction. I thought we would all fall to the ground in a heap. Then I saw them separate from each other as far as the tethers would allow. The tethers became taut, rigid, a frame work to lean out from. In effect creating  balance. With their toe nails digging in and using each other to work against they got us through the bad stretches. I learned that day that the dogs could  balance and stabilize themselves by using the tethers and each others strength. I learned as my part to add an little back pressure by stepping lightly on the claw brake.
What a lesson for me.
I realized that I have been living this type of life. Indeed all of us that have families and loved ones live this type of life.
I am a caregiver and am tethered to the one who needs me to help him. But, I am also one that needs a caregiver or caregivers. The ones that live with me in this life of MS. They are tethered to me and I to them.
If we remember the lesson from the dogs and not fight our tethers to one another but, use them to help stabilize us in the bad stretches.
What a team of strength we can be when we help one another.
Once again I give thanks to my Lord who speaks loudest to me through the animals around me. I am so grateful to Him for giving me the ability to glean life lessons from His Creations. He, who is also a major part of our team.
the One that holds the strongest tether.

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