Sacrifice for the sake of love

by Jim Young, HPCCR volunteer

Sacrifice for the sake of love is a noble cause indeed.  Love can drive us to do things we never imagined we could; it is the power of love that gives each of us unparalleled strength to face the extreme perils that life sometimes throws our way. 

As far as I’m concerned, our greatest peril in life is death.  It is life’s instinct to hold on when facing death, yet here is where the sacrifices are made.  Someone who is dying sacrifices their own fear and sadness to bring calm to a desperate and confused loved one who is filled with panic and even anger.  A loved one sacrifices their hope and prayers in acceptance of the truth that life will have to go on without a person who has, and always will have, a special place in their heart.

Sacrifice is not giving up; it is actually the contrary.  Sacrifice is compromising for the sake of the other.  Sacrifice is, and shall always be, for the sake of love.

I recently purchased a Lady Antebellum CD that includes a song called “As You Turn Away.”  The more I listened to this song, the more I realized that some of the lyrics tie in with the concept of sacrifice made for the sake of love.

“Standing face to face
Wrapped in your embrace
I don’t wanna let you go
But you’re already gone

Nothing more to say
Nothing left to break
I keep reaching out for you
Hoping you might stay
One step my heart breaking
One more my hands are shaking
The door is closing
And I just can’t change it

Nothing more to give
Nothing left to take
I keep reaching out for you
As you turn away”
In hospice, sacrifices go beyond the patient and their loved ones. Nurses and aides sacrifice a part of themselves as they work feverishly from night to day to battle pain, nausea, and confusion while at the same time bringing comfort and reassurance to the concerned and despaired. 

In fact, sacrifice is made at all levels in a hospice organization.  From the executives that plan and institute policies and procedures, and the staff who coordinate fundraisers and events, to the volunteer managers who use their hearts to pair volunteers with patients and families.  Volunteers themselves sacrifice their time as well as their reluctance — they cross that threshold into a world that most would say they don’t have the heart or the strength to cross.

I too was one of those people who thought that it would be impossible to volunteer in a world filled with death and sadness, and I was very reluctant to take my first step.  But after making that first step, I realized that what I had stepped into wasn’t just death and sadness; I had also stepped into life.

In hospice, death unfortunately may be the end result, but it is the sacrifices given towards life that drive this amazing organization.  The pains and struggles with life are sacrificed for comfort, the confusion and doubt are sacrificed for clarity, and ironically, hope for life is sacrificed for peace.  That may sound devastating for some – that hope is sacrificed for death – but hope (to me) is a good ending.  So if peace is achieved in death, and there is no more suffering or pain, shouldn’t that be our hope for this loved one?  It is this sacrifice of hope (for life) that allows families and friends to reassure their loved one to go on towards death without them, to give from their hearts all that is required.  All for the sake of love.       
We can learn so much if we just take the time to observe and listen, and in hospice I have listened not only to the voices of the patients and their loved ones, but have observed the caring and determined staff of HPCCR who do whatever it takes to find the only hope in death – peace.

I have listened to God more in the last five years than I have my entire life, and in these years of learning and growing, His wisdom is constantly guiding me to unseen horizons.  He has guided me to an organization like Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region, one that truly gives all that is required, all for the sake of peace. As long as there are people willing to make sacrifices for the sake of humanity, God’s love and wisdom truly shines upon the world.

Explore posts in the same categories: advocacy, awareness, end of life, hospice, volunteering

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