An Irresistible Church book review on Hope for the Caregiver by Peter Rosenberger.
The need for and relevance of this book can be summed up in the words of Peter Rosenberger, “If you love somebody, you will be a caregiver. If you live long enough, you’ll need one.” Peter is the president of Standing with Hope, a Christian ministry that works to provides artificial limbs to people in West Africa. Peter is also an accomplished public speaker, writer, and spokesman in the community of caregivers. In addition, he has been the sole caregiver for his wife for nearly thirty years.
This book is designed to peel back the curtain of caregiving, bringing a deep breath of encouragement and humor into lives that experience suffering on varying levels. Peter remarks in the opening of the book, “it’s unsettling to realize that God is not as freaked out about our suffering as we are.”
Through the pages of this book Peter speaks about four main aspects of caregiving: the head, emotions, lifestyle, and planning. He has lived each of these personally for many years and is well qualified to speak into the circumstances surrounding caregiving.
Peter is raw and honest. His transparency is both enlightening and refreshing. His “love for Gracie [his wife] committed him to an existence dominated by constant brutal realities that would end with a funeral, but hopefully not his.” He learned early on that he was spending energies “fixing that which cannot be fixed and managing that which cannot be managed.”
Caregivers can often become so focused on their loved one that they forget to take care of themselves. As Peter says, “My role is to love my wife, do the best I can, and grow as a healthy individual to the best of my abilities.” The health of the caregiver increases the quality of care for the loved one. The health of the caregiver ensures that godly decisions are made, that proper care is enlisted, and that others are asked to shoulder the task together on a regular basis.
Hope is crucial in all aspects of life. For caregivers, the “constant grind leads many to share the common feeling of hopelessness.” The author encourages us to not worry about that which we cannot fix or alter. Instead, he pushes us to focus on God in the midst of the storm and passionately care for, to the best of our ability, those we love.
Peter provides helpful reminders for caregivers to manage their lifestyle in the following outline:
- Laugh – “As Victor Hugo says, ‘Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.’”
- Leisure – “The abilities and stability of caregivers increase with regular rest and leisure.”
- Leave – “When help is present, take advantage of it by leaving the premises and allowing fresh air into your body and soul.”
Peter recommends that caregivers live by his 1-2-30 principle. First, do at least one special thing for yourself each week. Next, take at least two weeks of vacation from caregiving each year. Finally, take at least thirty minutes every day to enjoy something humorous.
Caregiving is not for the faint of heart. In this book, Peter provides perspective, humor, encouragement, and most importantly, hope. Be encouraged as you read this book, and make sure to share it with those in your life that might need hope as well.