Compassionate love

Today is the third day of a Jewish practice known as counting the Omer.  It extends for 49 days, leading up to Shavuot, the holiday celebrating the giving of the Torah. Jewish mystics assign attributes to each of the days of counting.  Today is Tiferet of Chesed or Compassionate Love. 

One of the rabbis I read defines compassionate love as “love given freely, expect[ing] nothing in return.”   It struck me that this is what caregivers, especially those caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease, do on a daily basis. Then it struck me that we nonetheless get much in return. For every time I lose my patience, there are at least two occasions where I provide J with warmth and security and maybe even a little fun. 

“Balance in love” is another interpretation of today’s attribute. As my friends and some family members constantly remind me, I must strive for balance – compassionately and empathetically caring for J while making sure my own needs are met. 

Wishing all the caregivers the experience of receiving as well as giving compassionate love. 

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