I am participating in a worldwide writing movement to speak for compassion.
Compassion is a calling. Not the kind that is only visited on a select few - it is a calling for each of us. You may have silenced its voice, pushed it down and back until you can't hear its gentle leading, but it is still there. Calling out to you.
This is the whisper of compassion.
Love is the difference between true compassion and what is so often just disguised pity.
Love is the feeling that bubbles up in your heart and shows itself in your actions. Love is what makes you dig deep, give sacrificially, hug a stranger, smile, listen closely, share tears, forgive, seek understanding, and reserve judgement.
Compassion reminds you that you know better now, but it wasn't always that way. And it enables you to see those around you with grace.
There is a verse from the Bible that echoes in my heart - usually at the most inopportune times when I am happy in my selfishness, secure in my pride, or not wanting to put others first or even consider their feelings at all.
Above all, love each other deeply,And if I listen to that echo, if I allow it to penetrate the wall I'm so often building around my heart, I will stop and think about love. Deep love. Love that covers sins also covers misunderstandings, confusion, differences, and all manner of pain.
because love covers over a multitude of sins.
- I Peter 4:8
It is easy to love my family. Sure there are small things like the one millionth conversation about leaving shoes in the dark walkway, and big things that are more important and harder to resolve, but the love is always there under and around it all.
It is easy to love my friends. Even when they make different decisions than I might make, or walk paths I would never choose for them, I can almost always see their side of the story. I might not agree, but I can understand their hearts and feel their pain and joy, and I love them exactly where they are.
But what about the rest of world? The people I don't know, the people who don't hold pieces of my heart in their hands? The ones who I don't understand at all, whose words don't even make sense to my heart? What about the people who are fast and harsh and rude? The ones with jagged edges and not a soft spot to be seen?
What is my response to these people?
Is it love - deep love - love that covers...everything?
Hatred stirs up strife,Oh readers, not always. Not enough. I often do not look past my own feelings to care for another's. I often hold myself back from the pain. I rush past. I do not seek to listen, to understand, to love deeply.
But love covers all transgressions.
Here's the truth: Love is messy and compassion requires work.
You can not step in and out of compassion when it suits your day.
To have true compassion, you must allow yourself to be open to another person's heart and story and truths; you have to be willing to stop and listen to not just their words but their very souls. True compassion must be mixed with the love that covers all the cracks and broken places and makes us whole.
This is the calling of compassion: To share your life and your heart with those around you. To let go of hatred and anger. To give the same grace to others that you would wish for yourself. To listen before you make up your mind, and to cover all the things, with love.
If you listen closely, you will hear this calling echoing through your heart. Reminding you to love, to serve, and to practice compassion every day.
What does compassion mean to you?
Today, over 1,000 bloggers are joining together to write about compassion.
It started with a blog post from Lizzie and an idea from Yvonne, and blossomed into a beautiful community. You can find out more about #1000Speak For Compassion here.