The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. A quote by Pablo Picasso.

I recently saw this quote on a Linked In article. It really struck a chord with me. Having purpose and meaning in our lives, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, is important. My thoughts were taken to caring for a relative who is in the last phase of life. We may feel completely out of our depth with what’s needed to care for someone we love. If we can focus on our strengths and gifts and give these in the caring process, we can find both purpose and meaning. We can also ask for help with those areas that don’t play to our strengths.

By being clear about what we are happy to give, we give willingly and without resentment. If we identify those areas we need help with and ask for this help, we give the opportunity for others to find meaning and purpose by using their gifts in caring too. Thinking about relatives, friends, neighbours, volunteers and professionals who might be able to help with the caring can help share the process very effectively. A friend of mine loves cooking. She helps others by dropping off a meal when things are tough. If each of us gives what we naturally want to offer, we can each find a way to help others at this challenging time.

I know that I am able to care for others as long as I get a good night’s sleep. When I don’t get enough rest, my patience is stretched. I then start to feel resentment. This is something I’ve learnt to ask for help with. Knowing myself, including my strengths and weaknesses, has given me the capacity to recognise how I can best support those in the last phase of their life.

The most powerful way of supporting a loved one in the last phase of life is to surround them with those wanting to care for them and their closest relatives, using their gifts in a compassionate and loving way. This is just as much a gift to those caring, as it is for the individual being cared for – the true meaning and purpose of life in action.