I've always rather piously thought I am pretty good at serving the Lord rather than human beings, as the Bible says we ought to do (Ephesians 6:6-8).
Turns out--not so much.
I've realized lately how many of my caregiving decisions are impacted by what others might think. For example, today just after I'd had my first cup of coffee I felt that unmistakable, Holy Spirit nudge followed by a specific instruction. "Bathe your mom this morning."
"But we aren't going anywhere," I whined. And I went about my business.
On a continuum with the category "fresh as a daisy" on one end and "health hazard" on the other, Mom's condition this morning would've fallen approximately in the middle. Her hair needed washed and set, and without my supervision she would've donned the same outfit for the third day in a row; but I didn't think she would be uncomfortable.
It was while I was taking my own daily shower that remorse struck. A couple of Bible verses came to mind but in an edited form: "Caregivers...be considerate as you live with your care recipients, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner..." "Caregivers ought to love their care recipients as their own bodies. The one who loves her care recipient loves herself!" (adapted from 1 Peter 3:7 and Ephesians 5:8)
I wouldn't wear the same clothes three days in a row (well, not if anyone was going to see me anyhow), and I sure wouldn't risk insulting the olfactory systems of others by going for three days without a shower. Yet I was willing to allow Mom that dubious privilege simply because she is not likely to have visitors today.
By 11:00 a.m. Mom had been bathed, lotioned, shampooed, and outfitted in a freshly laundered blouse and slacks. Even if the only person she sees today is me, I think she'll be happier. And I have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that this time around I followed the Lord's direction rather than letting my primary motivation be what other people might think.