I am an elderly companion. It's a little hard to sum up what that means, because it means one thing to one client and another thing to another, but let me try.
As an elderly companion, I am a listening ear, an advocate, a friend. I am hands and feet when hands and feet no longer work. I am a smile on lonely days. I am a warm washcloth on tired skin, a hymn singer, scripture reader and vocal prayer warrior. I help dress, bathe, toilet, exercise and properly medicate those unable to do it themselves.
As much as we sometimes grumble about the chaos of our lives, I can tell you first hand, it means you are still able to fight and live and participate.
It means you are still able to be busy, and that's a beautiful thing.
With that backdrop, let me give you five pointers I'm finding to be fruitful in the chaos of life. As an example I'll use the chaos of the basketball season. Your chaos may be the result of the treatment you need for a health issue, or the duties of a job or volunteer position, or the extra activities of Christmas. Whatever chaos carrier you are facing, give these five things a try.
1. Pray for acceptance
As basketball season started three weeks ago I filled out my magnetic refrigerator calendar. Three kids on three different teams meant serious travel time for practice and as much time spent at the court during games ... for four months. I immediately started praying God would help me to joyfully embrace this season and not be embittered by it.
2. Plan ahead
As I looked ahead it became clear I would need to be more mindful of meals. Active kids require lots of food and with multiple practice times, two kids would need to eat a meal right after school in order to let it digest before their evening practice, while the other needed a quick, energy-filled snack, but wouldn't be able to eat a full meal till later. I could see planned grocery store trips and purposeful meals at just the right time would mean everyone being able to function well. A little planning makes a huge difference in cutting the chaos.
The calendar also was a wake up call to get a head start on the Christmas things that would add even more to an already packed calendar. A little each day means angry mom is less likely to make an appearance.
3. Enlist help
As I made out my schedule I realized it wouldn't just be time I'd be losing, but a whole lot of gas. I immediately sought out friends to form a carpool, to cut down both as much as possible. Driving a little further to pick up children may add a few minutes to the commute, but it's worth it to not have to drive both ways.
4. Seize the opportunities the chaos presents
This is a direct benefit of number one and three. Far from being a burden, this carpooling is a wonderful blessing. I relish the conversations I hear and interactions I have, and time in the car with my children and their friends let's me see into their hearts and allows me to interject, to make recommendations, suggest they pray or choose a different response next time.
5. Enjoy the journey
I was pleasantly surprised at the wonderful conversations that came from an all day tournament recently. I had a chance to talk to parents I don't get to see all that often, to pick their brains about things in our life and share and create memories. The day flew by as each game meant finding a new place to sit and each game I ended up by different people. Another fantastic blessing was running into a woman I'd met at the same tournament the year prior as we sat next to our sons, both named Simon, playing against each other. In a short time, we found we had a lot more in common then our love of a name. It's amazing how God can turn what could seem like a tremendous waste of time into a huge encouragement.
It's a tragic thing when chaos steals our joy. A little prayer and planning can do a lot to ward off stress. And the ultimate attitude adjustment is the reminder that those no longer able to do things desperately wish they could still go and do.
Do not despise the blessing of the time and place God has put you right now. Embrace it, bathe it in prayer and ask God to somehow in someway at all times, help you to glorify His name through it all.