The last while I have been reflecting on the whole subject of compassion. Compassion – showing sympathy for someone often with a desire to help. That is how my dictionary puts it.
In an earlier post, I commented that I had inherited a propensity for this from my ancestral heritage. But this character trait is not just received through my genetic make up. I suppose it is a trait that has to be nurtured and developed. I had good role models. It is a trait for which it is good to develop a healthy sense of discernment too in order to not just become a victim of a false sense that without my intervention, the world will not make it. I am not God.
The medical world distinguishes between sympathy and another closely related word – empathy. If sympathy is entering into the feelings of another person, empathy is the understanding of those feelings. Sympathy can cripple us. Empathy should enable us to understand the feelings but remain able to react in a helpful way; to not get bogged down in the feeling emotionally.
This morning I was reading from 1Peter 4:10 and 11
“God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you. Are you called to be a speaker? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then God will be given glory in everything through Jesus Christ. All glory and power belong to him forever and ever. Amen.”
Compassion is one of those gifts that have to do with helping others. It is a feeling that helps us to stop and consider the needs of another. Not to try and become God for the world – we can’t. But to stop and consider the other person’s needs and how we can respond, without just brushing them off as none of our business – for that I believe God will provide the strength and energy to respond appropriately. I think responding compassionately to other people is a gift for which God provides the energy needed. “Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies.” Why? To have a hand in bringing about God’s kingdom; changing people by applying love and concern to the spots where they hurt. So that they can see Him. To give Him glory.
I should not be here. I am posting this from my office computer after finishing an emergency. The poor girl broke off about one third of her front tooth . And of course she is in a wedding party today. Used to hang around my house with my oldest daughter. When she called this morning I thought – I’m not sure if that bit of information is the way to talk me into going into my office on the second day of my vacation. But anyway, I did – get talked into it.
I guess I remember – the morning of dental school grad – I had an inlay in progress and out it came. A call to my dentist and I became his number one priority that morning. Got glued back together and to convocation in time.
Compassion. I seem to have inherited a healthy dose of it from my ancestors. Oh well, I could have gotten worse.
Why does it seem to work this way? I am enjoying my first morning of vacation. I am wide awake at 4:30am !!
Praying for friends – but my mind wanders. And sleep does not come again.
Finally decided that I might as well get up.
The day started with Gatecrashers. We have lots of empty spaces in our circle these days. Too many holidaying pray-ers. And still it is soooo good to go in the early morning and meet God, talk to him and listen to him too. Praying together for mutual friends and members of our congregation is a good way to start the day.
Then off to work. Today was dead. A big empty hole in the middle of my day. Six people in a row cancel. Not good for running an office with all the usual expenses. Not sure what makes a toothache disappear the day after a person phones for an emergency appointment. Making a dental appointment has to be the best remedy for this type of pain. Cures it completely by the next day. Maybe we should be able to charge for such miracle cures!!
With lots of down time, I have managed to finish re-reading The Hobbit and am starting on The Fellowship of the Ring. It has been years since I read them. And I picked the series up – brand new – from Wiebe’s garage sale for cheap. Not sure whether to continue reading them on my vacation or return to them later when I get back from vacation. I hate stopping in the middle of a series but I have so many other books I have been saving for vacation that I haven’t read once yet.
Tonight a few of us from our small group went to Shananigans for coffee(or whatever) and conversation. The frozen cappuccino is always good. And Meg and Lauralea are fun to visit with.
Looking forward to my last day of work tomorrow. Then a long holiday weekend before I take off on my journey west.
This was our big day – thirty five years ago. I’ve had enough weddings this summer to appreciate the fact that we did things more simply back in those days. I guess we could have had a princess style wedding but we didn’t. Couldn’t afford one of those. And back then if we asked a friend to be a bridesmaid, we also were saying to them – I will provide the dress. That doesn’t seem to be the case these days. Times have changed.
Anyway, 35 years ago was a pretty exciting day. And I am glad that we made a lasting commitment to each other then intending it to last. And it has. And there is a whole lot more love, a lot deeper kind of love now than when we first started out.
This afternoon at work I received flowers – in addition to the book I bought for myself last weekend that was supposed to be my gift to myself from him. And in addition to that beautiful little laptop – which was a total surprise.
Tonight we went out for supper. Ate too much. We tried out a different restaurant – Sopranos. The food was good but our steak was definitely not medium rare. It is hard to uncook a steak but they offered to try again and got it done very nicely the second time. Leo had a small incident with his glass of wine. One shouldn’t reach over a wine glass to retrieve a dish for the waiter!
Now early to bed.
It was a great day. I was pretty nervous about the worship music since it was just Matt (guitar) and myself (alto recorder). Better than Randall singing acupello(sp?) at least. There is a lot more to leading worship than just being accomplished musicians but I did not want to make so many mistakes that I would distract the people from worship either. I am a whole lot more at ease with what I needed to do today than I would have been a year ago but I still do not think that I fall into the accomplished category.
In the quiet of the few minutes between practice and the service I sat and prayed. When I first began playing with the worship team I found that if I didn’t have time to sit and quiet myself and request his help, I would feel intimidated and lost. I asked God to use the music to bring the congregation into worship,to help me play my best and to accept my offering of music as a gift of worship from me.
It was an awesome feeling to realize on my way home that God had done just that. He is an awesome God – and so understanding and compassionate.
We have had a guest at our house for the past day or so. A few years ago while Patrick was in grade 12 there was an exchange student in town from Denmark. He is back for a visit. He needed to come back for a final game of chess just like he used to do. Tonight he and Patrick went to see The Island. They beat me home from my coffee date with a friend. Then they launched into a theological discussion on the purpose of the book of Job.
Looking after a two year old is not a good time to get inspiration for poetry. The simple kind comes quickly to the mind. But somehow,
On the path by grandma’s house
Here we go bumpy, bump, bump, bump,
Driving along on Kieran’s bike
Bumpity, bump bump bump.
while it entertained Kieran just fine, does not meet the standards Resonate expects for a poetry submission – I don’t think.
We just went for a walk a way down the river path. Going wasn’t bad but when we turned around the gale force winds were blowing right in our faces. Grandma got to help push for most of the way back.
On the good side – there were no mosquitos.