No sounds or words can signal the presence of caring. We often need time to feel its impact in order to spot it. So many things are felt by the heart before they are ever seen or spoken. Caring is one that the heart feels first with joy when present and struggles (with great sadness) when absent.
Caring is an aspect of love that refrains from judgment. It is different than forgiveness and sometimes mistaken for approval. We should always care for the individual even when their actions or behavior result in our disapproval. (Think parent and child.)
There is a warmth about caring. Its power comes from its ability to reach. Caring can touch one person or many. Caring can extend itself to an entire group, company, or congregation.
Caring shows no anger nor does it seek any award. It is neither a gas pedal nor a brake. It more closely resembles a thin oil that is sprayed onto a rusty hinge to make it work smoother and better. Hidden yet purposeful and very necessary.
We take caring for granted.
The type of caring (and its frequent absence) that fascinates me cannot be counted in terms of donations to those in need nor should it be practiced simply to be shouted out with pride to please our ego.
Caring involves helping those immediately around us feel better about themselves especially when we are not asked. Helping them feel worthy and able as they too confront life’s struggles and its many imperfections. Acknowledging that their struggles together with their efforts have meaning and purpose that is good and important.
Caring is simply being there for each other with a smile and a hug telling each other that we are glad you are here. That we are thankful for their presence in our lives.
It’s easier to care for another person when they show their need for it. Being cared about feels good when we are strong enough and honest with others in sharing our deep pain or disappointment. Fatigue and confusion are also hard for us to hide from others and cry out our need for someone to care.
Our biggest omission is when there is silence and no clues that we almost forget to show we care. The unintended result of not caring is always pushing away from the closeness of a relationship and/or the loss of interest in our work or project.
Caring is the glue and the catalyst that gives us the endurance to strengthen and deepen our relationships both personally and organizationally. It helps us to continue to have faith in life even when we are most confused by it.
Caring is like the rain that is necessary for a plant to grow. Visible when applied but hidden within the moist, dry earth as to its importance for plant growth. Without water, a plant can not flourish. Without caring, we too will never flourish.
On a larger scale, organizations can better withstand the turbulence of their affairs when their leader shows everyone they care through his/her actions. When they take the time to acknowledge all individuals in their group both for their presence and for their efforts and contributions. Even when the results are not perfect. Even when an individual’s interests within the group don’t coincide with the leader’s focus or passion.
The absence of caring brings about great human destruction through detachment and distancing in all of our relationships. Think of divorce as an extreme example of the type of destruction that occurs when two people no longer care for each other. Organizations diminish and wither away when there is no caring for each other within the group. They too tend to “die a slow death” as does a relationship that ends up in divorce.
Every relationship we enjoy, both personally and professionally, can benefit from our attention and practice of caring. Our connection to each other depends on us developing this habit of caring regularly, consistently, with both love & humility.
Caring is uniquely human, at times imperfect, yet purposeful and important. You can never care too much. It all depends on how much you try.