Every year, across the globe, we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. His voice has made a profound impact on humanity. He reminded us that each of us can be great…because anybody can serve. Your professional resume or subject-and-verb agreement is not the defining decision to serve.
“You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love…and you can be that servant,” said Dr. King.
As caregivers, sacrifice has the stopping point when the journey of a loved one ends.
Dr. King addressed the narrative this way, “For when people get caught up with that which is right, and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.”
The connection between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the role of a caregiver poses a united and unique perspective. While the role is associated with physical and mental tenacity, the overarching construct is service. Caregivers are change agents. Dr. King was a change agent. He changed the nation’s direction by encouraging us to face our failures and fears while serving.
Failure and fear are two words often felt by a caregiver when serving. The reality is that an array of obstacles are out of our control, and while the fear of failure can take over our emotional stance, we stand, as Dr. King stood, in the midst of the known and unknown. As Dr. King, caregivers also stand on the balcony, looking out and wondering what is next. While the balcony is designed to support the weight of whoever sits or stands on it, there are times when it can fail and fall.
Caregiving is not about giving up when things get difficult or discouraging. We make differences generated by love and service.
One of Dr. King’s quotes, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
As a caregiver, there are moments when the role of caregiving tests the ability of human kindness, and our faith is what we lean on.
Dr. King reminds us, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, many of the accomplishments in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life can be aligned with the journey of a caregiver.
Dr. King stated, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”
Our response should be a call to action.
“Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”
Be safe! Be well!
Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman is a retired registered nurse and case manager, CEO of Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate and author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor, and The Black Book of Important Information for Caregivers.