Not for a million dollars

As I reflect on the elderly who are, far too often, subjected to our cruel and dehumanizing throwaway culture, I recall an oft-repeated story about Mother Teresa.

She was tending to the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick when someone exclaimed, “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars!”

To this, Mother Teresa replied, “Neither would I.”

It is important for caregivers to be well compensated for their deeply important and meaningful work of accompanying persons in their vulnerability, particularly as they near the end of their lives.

But do we understand that this kind of work cannot be reduced to being a means to a paycheque without creating a crisis in the hearts and minds of those who come face to face every day with human suffering, weakness, and fragility?

Mother Teresa, of course, saw herself as capable of doing the work that she did insofar as she could see God in His “distressing disguises.”

What is it that will enable caregivers today to do the necessary service about which many would say, “I wouldn’t do that for a million dollars?”