As our family prepares for the upcoming holidays – inviting friends over for dinner and celebrations and the retelling of the story of Chanukah – I was surprised to find some interesting similarities between the miracle of the oil and the plight of caregivers. For those of you who need a quick refresher, here’s the gist of it:
In the year 165 B.C., against all odds, a small band of Jewish fighters battled and conquered one of the mightiest armies in the world in order to protect their religious freedom and beliefs. According to legend, when the time came for them to rededicate the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after their victory, the Jews could only find enough oil to keep the Eternal Flame of the temple’s menorah burning for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days, giving them enough time to obtain and purify more oil in order to keep the flame from ever going out.
Ever since, Jews around the world celebrate Chanukah by lighting candles on a nine branch menorah, one candle for each day that the oil lasted, with the ninth candle, the shamash (servant candle) sitting higher than the rest, used to light the others. This ninth candle is the one that really hit home for me.
Being a servant can be a high and difficult calling – and caregivers are among the most dedicated servants in the world. Somehow we manage to give our light to others each day, even while fighting against formidable foes such as depression, stress, fatigue, illness, financial ruin and feelings of guilt.
There were many times in the last few years where I wondered if I’d have enough oil to get me through to the next day. I was on the verge of burning out more times than I can count! Miraculously, God always gave me exactly what I needed to get through each day of my journey and never allowed my flame to be extinguished. When my own strength failed me, God was there to sustain me and supply my needs. He refreshed my spirit and gave me the strength, the will and the wisdom to take care of Glen, our children and myself!
The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication.” What an appropriate time to reflect on this passing year and the dedication that 15 million caregivers in the United States selflessly show to their husbands, wives, fathers, mothers and friends who are living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Because the good work that caregivers do often goes unnoticed, CareLiving wants to lift them up this Chanukah season, shine a light, and commend all of you for your selfless service!
You are the light of the world… Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. – Jesus
– Kim Campbell and all of us at CareLiving.org