It is nearing the end of February and many have settled into winter doldrums. The enthusiasm of New Year’s resolutions dissipated some time ago (at least for many).  So now I want you (and me) to take a deep breath and start anew. Pretend it is spring, if you must. Ignore the rain (or snow) outside for a moment.

This post has been “under construction” in my brain for many months. I want to talk about compassion. In today’s society, compassion is denigrated to a sappy or anemic feeling akin to being nice to people. I’m all for being nice, but, really, that’s not what compassion is. Compassion is about entering into the suffering of others. Entering in. Not observing from a distance. (Gulp.) I read _Compassion_ by Henri Nouwen a few years ago and was stunned into humility and silence. Had I ever really been compassionate? (I was planning on quoting said book but, sigh, in this moment of looking it has disappeared. Insert totally unrelated rant about how I must throw out burn demolish simplify and organize my life. Ahem.) But I think time in Congo rekindled a flame which burned low for a while, what with two young children and a world that easily shrinks to not more than these walls. Intentional action to start a 501c3 to aid kids in DRC and watching the news of the world around me, specifically those in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, and Tunisia, who are protesting various oppressive governments fans the flame. Even my little girl talked about learning how the Good Samaritan tended the wounds of the stranger he encountered. How can I, how do I enter said suffering?

I know there are no simple answers, but I hope to flesh out ways that may help at least dip a toe into what it means to be compassionate. Tonight it means to take time to truly pray for those whose lives are in some state of upheaval in the Middle East…and to pray that God would allow me to love them like He does.Parable of the Good Samaritan


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