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Gramps,

I am the sole carer to my wife and would not wish otherwise. Whilst I cannot get about much due to disability I have in my mind to return to an old hobby of mine, model railroads. Obviously there is not much time to pursue the hobby because I look after my dear wife 24 hours a day. My question is, am I being sinful to take up the hobby again?

John

 

Answer

 

Dear John,

You are correct. The first responsibility you have is to your wife. You need to take care of her and make sure that she is as healthy as she can be and that her needs are taken care of. It sounds like you are doing that just fine. However you also need to remember to take care of yourself. In his General Conference talk, “Like a Broken Vessel” (General Conference October 2013)  the apostle Jeffery R. Holland said “Fatigue is the common enemy of us all—so slow down, rest up, replenish, and refill.” Some of us can indeed replenish, rest up and refill by relaxing with our favorite hobbies.

Sometimes people who are very selfless feel guilty about enjoying the things that give them pleasure. As caregivers there are times that we try so hard to give all that we can that we forget that it is okay to make the time to take care of ourselves as well.  We need to remember to take care of our own physical and mental health. Taking care of our physical health is obvious. If we don’t get the proper sleep and nutrition our own health will suffer and we won’t be able to take care of anyone else.

But mental health is important as well. Aside from being physically demanding,  it can also be mentally stressful to take care of someone we love. There should be no shame in admitting that it can be taxing on our mental health to take care of others. If you feel like a hobby or an interest relieves some of the stress that you feel, then there is no problem engaging in it.  Hobbies and interests should also be pleasing to our Heavenly Father, and your interest in model railroads and trains is certainly moral and what we call “good, clean fun”.

The apostles have hobbies. Some surprising and interesting ones too. (Hidden talents and surprising hobbies of modern-day prophets)  They also have family and church responsibilities, yet they make the time to enjoy some of what life has to offer. Ecclesiastes 3:1 is a famous verse and it does say there is a time for everything, and that should include a bit of rest and relaxation.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

The fact that you care so much about the health and welfare of your wife to even ask the question about hobbies shows where your heart is. As long as your are not neglecting your work, church and home responsibilities you should feel no guilt whatsoever in it.

 

Gramps

 

 

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