“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord had forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with Love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14
“When religion fails at compassion, it fails at its own test. To neglect loving your neighbor–to lack compassion–that is the problem underlying all other human problems.” Barbara Butler Bass
Compassion simply means “to be with Suffering.” We’re heading into Easter week, where we find suffering, but also hope, connection, and love. Renewal and rebirth.
We are discovering our own relationship to suffering in these past weeks. Perhaps, we can look at this as our days in the desert. We might feel very alone with our own demons, our fears, our weaknesses, our anxiety. They might be mostly tame, only occasionally rising up or they might be howling at our heels throughout. How can we be with our own suffering? How can we tame our demons?
We don’t like to be alone. We are discovering how important our neighbors (all “neighbors”) are to us, whether we are seeking support from them to get us through or being the helpers or simply missing that human connection of being with one another. How can we be with the suffering of others? Our loved ones, our neighbors, our friends, our farther neighbors, especially when we can not be with them. Maybe it’s only a prayer, but that’s a big thing.
In our desert, how can we make our desert a little more Joyful? How can we make someone else’s desert a little more Joyful? A phone call, a card, a precious letter (I’m thinking of those long, lingering letters that begin with “the daffodils are blooming today and…“), a piece of art, a poem, or an uplifting video post. So many possibilities to meet each of our unique gifts to offer.
Perhaps, when we come to the light on the other side of this, we will be more appreciative of our everyone and everything. We will hold our loved ones a little bit closer all the time, not just when things are scary. We will remember not to fill our lives with striving and reaching and working and competing and remember to be at Home. We will remember to be good people, spreading goodness. We will be reborn out of this stronger, more compassionate, and more kind.
Jesus didn’t stay in the desert. On the other side, He came out to teach others what He had learned. He came out to spread Love and Compassion. This is our turning inward and there will be another side of rebirth and renewal where it will be our turn to step into the world a little wiser and with a deeper Love and Compassion (appreciation too?) for ourselves and the world around us.
Love & Blessings.