It is very easy to provide for those we care for and usually natural for parents especially to want to lavish love, attention and gifts on their children.
This is a biblical pattern after God’s own heart.
Yet we can miss such a lot if we don’t slow down sometimes and really notice what is going on around us – not just within our own circles.
For instance, though we may prefer to close our eyes to the fact, there are a lot of needy people out there who are desperate for help and attention.
Some of them may be shouting and clamouring – possibly looking the worse for wear.
Some of them may be mumbling incoherently, heads bowed – while holding out a begging bowl or hat.
Some may be sitting on the pavement – trying to look purposeful while feeling invisible.
Some may be hurting deeply inside – yet on the surface they can look just like you or me.
“Love cannot be divided. If it is genuine it serves God and the neighbour in the same act. Or better, it sees God in the neighbour and the neighbour in God” ~ Carlo Carretto
Another challenging and inspiring book has contributed to the process: ‘Graffiti: scribbles from different sides of the street’ by Alene Snodgrass. You won’t be the same once you’ve read either of them as you will find yourself looking around more to see which need you could be helping to meet, maybe globally or locally.
“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion and anguish” ~ Henri Nouwen
Sometimes the neediest people are right under our noses: our families and friends. After all, don’t they say that “Compassion begins at home”?
Tucked up in bed as I was, aware that my Other Half sitting downstairs (an owl not a lark) would be immune to the sound (as he considerately wears headphones when listening to music/films at his preferred volume), I lay there listening and wondering what to do.
He may be a Hero to me in his daily love and care but he was far from ‘Superman saves the day’ material.
There must have been something better than just listening and doing nothing.
So why share my dismal story?
In order to show that being compassionate isn’t always easy or straightforward and we may have to exercise compassion toward ourselves for those times we mess up
Compassion can be defined as:
- The desire to ease another’s suffering
- A sympathetic awareness of another’s distress combined with a desire to alleviate it
- Showing kindness and caring through generosity and service
Preparing a meal – for those unable to face the task or without the means to do so.
Whatever our own particular set of circumstances may be, there are always ways, large or small, in which we can help and support other people and show them grace and mercy in their time of need.
As this is the season of Lent, we could look for practical ways to observe it and help others at the same time. Over at A Deeper Story you can read about and participate in drinking just water in place of your usual drinks for 40 days, to facilitate wells for Uganda.
In this post I am linking up with Missional Women Faith-filled Friday
Please feel free to share ways in which compassion has impacted your life as a recipient or trying to be a person of compassion in reaching out to others.