Dear Wellspring Ohana & Friends,
What is your favorite sandwich? Turkey? Tuna? Philly Steak? Usually, I like a fresh veggie sandwich, packed with ripe tomatoes, clover sprouts, spinach, and avocado! The more filling in the sandwich, the better, but the harder it becomes to eat it neatly without everything falling out between bites. The key to holding it all in place, and making the sandwich moist is the “spread” slathered on the two pieces of bread holding in the filling. Whether it’s mayo, peanut butter, spicy mustard, special sauce, or hummus, the spread enhances the taste and keeps the filling and the bread together.
The sandwich has become a metaphor to describe a new generation: the ‘sandwich generation’. Coined to describe persons who are primarily responsible for caring for their elderly parents, grandparents and relatives, as well as their younger children and grandchildren, the ‘sandwich generation’ is what’s on the menu for many of us. There are so many varieties of sandwiches too! “Traditional” describes adults sandwiched between their own parents and children. Then, there’s the “Club” that describes parents in their 50’s and 60’s, sandwiched between their ailing parents and grandparents, and their adult children with their own young children. There’s even the “Open” sandwich to describe anyone else involved in elderly care.
If the two slices of bread represent the young and elderly generation, respectively, then their caregivers are the filling. The spread holding them all together, is our Father God, who also adds to our sandwich with sweet and savory tastes to enhance the flavor and experience of a good sandwich!
In recent weeks, I’ve had conversations with many who are feeling sandwiched, as they juggle the demands of taking care of ailing kupuna (“elderly”) as well as being a support to their children and grandchildren. Some have just retired to do so, and others still work a full time job and somehow make things work. I sense tiredness, frustrations, loss for what was and a surrendering to a different lifestyle, and many unknowns about the future. How do we, our kupuna and our young, go forward well? I’m not sure.
As I now move into a new season of hospice care for my elderly 96 and 97 year old aunty and uncle, the stirrings that I’ve had to minister to our kupuna and their devoted caregivers, as well as to pay attention to growing older gracefully with God, have been seeds God has planted and taken root in me for a while. I am in process, receiving God’s whispers and waiting for a clear vision for this longing. Have any of you had a similar stirring? I invite you to come and talk with me more and share what the Holy Spirit has been growing in you. Perhaps there’s a sandwich ministry in the making. In the meantime, I continue to be blessed by your genuine sharing of real life struggles and blessings that come from caring for those you love.
Even in old age they will still provide fruit and be vital and green. Ps 92:14 (NLT)