Oh Lord, as I count out these pills, cutting some in half to make it easier to swallow, I am reminded that life brings to each of us problems that seem hard to swallow. But your grace works in ways we do not always understand, and what is hard to swallow now may be medicine for the soul if I am open to the lessons available to me in each experience.

Oh Lord, as I change these sheets, I am reminded that wrinkled sheets become painful to sensitive skin when a body must lay on them for some time. And seemingly small actions when continued over time can become large, hurtful habits. Guide me in noticing any small words or deeds of mine that can be hurtful. Give me the strength to stop while they are still small.

Oh Lord, as I bathe my loved one, I am reminded of the night Jesus bathed the feet of the apostles and said, "I have set you an example: do for others as I have done for you. No servant is greater than his master." May this act of bathing remind me that every time I do for another, I am also doing for God.

Oh Lord, I am preparing a meal for someone who has no appetite. As I look for ways to make food more appetizing, I prayerfully remind myself that I cannot force another to eat any more than You can force us to follow what you know is best for us. Help me to do my best in preparation. Then help me to accept another's choices.

Oh Lord, as I sit in the waiting room with my loved one, I am feeling impatient and bored. But in describing what love is, Paul's first word in 1 Cor 13 is 'patient.' So instead of grousing, I thank you for this opportunity to learn more loving patience. And next time, I'll bring something funny to read or look at to give us both a little laugh while we wait.

Oh God, as I help my loved one into a wheelchair, I give thanks for the designs and mobility of all the devices available today to help the disabled. May my loved one see this chair not as a prison, but as a way to live in greater freedom.

Oh Lord, today we are going for a drive. My loved one is so excited to see the world outside the sickroom. Sometimes I forget to appreciate the beauty of your natural world. Help me feel the same excited wonder as my loved one feels.

Oh Lord, as I wearily begin another caregiving task, I recall what your servant Meister Eckhart said: "The way to holiness is to do the next thing you have to do with all your heart and soul and with delight." Oh God of light and love, help me to find the delight in this task. If I lighten my attitude, I will feel less weary.

Oh Lord, the stack of hospital bills and insurance forms is so intimidating. How will I ever make it through the fine print? I rely on Scripture, which says, "for God all things are possible" (Mark 10:27). All I have to do is breathe, focus, and take it slowly — if not one step, then one word at a time. Thank you, Lord, for helping me in the process.

Oh Lord, as my loved one convalesces, guide my imagination in creative ways to make my visits more enjoyable: by reading aloud a well-plotted story, bringing in a pet, sharing photos from family albums, checking out cartoon books from the library, planting seeds in a flower pot, listening to show tunes. . . . Open my mind to possibilities, remembering what Proverbs 17:22 says: "A cheerful heart is a good medicine."

And finally, oh Lord, thank you for helping me see my caregiving tasks as prayer opportunities, so that each one becomes a kind of holy experience. With your grace to strengthen and encourage me, I will find the faith to say, as I care for my loved one, "All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well."

Barbara Bartocci in Grace on the Go