Why is grace so miserably hard to accept? Kindness, generosity, love, or concern- they are all painful to me right now. I want, need and define myself by being ‘the’ caretaker. Now I look around and not only is there nobody to take care of, but people want to take care of me. What have I done to deserve this care and concern? I have been a woefully inadequate friend over the last year. I have tried, but the fact of the matter is, I have been physically and emotionally checked out from my normal social circles. When my friends have been going away for weekends, I have been home with my family. When my friends wanted to go hang out after work, I was too busy struggling to stay above water to have the extra time to spend in normal ways. That said, I have done very little to cultivate my friendships. So on top of the sorrow I feel this week realizing that my dad really is gone, I feel guilt. I feel guilty that friends are cooking me dinner, listening, and taking me on walks. I am the one who is supposed to be the cooker of comfort meals. I am supposed to be the loving listener. I am supposed to be the one who walks along side my friends. In many ways, I am so grateful for my friends who have had long enough memories and understanding enough hearts to stick by me while I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off for the last year. But in other ways, the loss of my identity as the caretaker is just another loss to choke back. So I guess like it or not, I am stuck groping around in the ungracefulness of grace. I just hope I find my footing again soon, and can pour care into something healthy and positive again.