The Opposites Game

Woman hiking by the seaside

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.—PROVERBS 3:5-6 (NIV)

“Let’s play Opposites!” Our party host took the lead, leaning over to touch the floor. So I stretched toward the ceiling! A few more challenges and we all were laughing heartily at our contortions. Understanding this game made me a better caregiver for my husband, Bob, who has Alzheimer’s.

I found that I often got angry or impatient as he repeated himself, or didn’t move fast enough. Sometimes he seemed to be playing Opposites at my expense, like taking groceries from the trunk faster than I could load them! When my negative feelings showed, my husband mirrored them. If I snapped at him, he snapped back with a vengeance. When I realized this, I slowly began to train myself to do the opposite of my first inclinations.

In an amazing example of Opposites, we actually started going out more after Bob’s diagnosis. We found like-minded couples in a support group, and began doing fun things together. Our social calendar became over-booked. While it’s common for caregivers to isolate, we were out in the open, breaking stigmas, embracing life. By doing the opposite of the expected—and what we initially felt—we truly thrived.

Today's Prayer:

God, remind me not to rely solely on my own understanding. Help me trust you, even when that means doing the opposite of my first instinct.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts