Caregiving is one of the hardest things there is to do well. Second to it in difficulty is writing about caregiving well. Dr. Keith Dow’s “Formed Together: Mystery, Narrative, and Virtue In Christian Caregiving” is that rare work that achieves it, combining academic scholarship with deeply personal experience and a uniquely effective manner.
Drawing equally from his extensive research (it is an extrapolation of his PhD thesis) and his personal experience as a caregiver for adults with developmental disabilities, “Formed Together” inspires as it educates. For the newcomer to this unique vocation, it provides a necessary window into one of the open secrets of our shared humanity: Sooner or later, nearly all of us will be a caregiver, and all of us will require one. For the current caregiver who reads it, it is a work both of great comfort and of great challenge, an affirmation of the work being done that becomes a much-needed call to do it in a wiser, better way: to do it together.
It is a book that rewards careful reading, a book that can (and should) be read over and over again. Dr. Dow’s unique perspective, combining academic philosophy with first-hand caregiver experience, is a gift to the reader. He combines his two worlds beautifully, the former informing the latter, and the result is a timely and eminently practical call to vocation.
I, a caregiver both professionally and within my family, was fortunate enough to encounter this book at a time when burnout and the abandonment of my vocation seemed inevitable. This book walked me back from that edge, a wise and gentle voice reminding me why I do what I do, and calling me to do it in a healthier, holier, and more honest way.