|"Chinese Girl" by Stu Mendelson. Pen and ink, watercolor wash.|
"Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.” - Henri J.M. Nouwen
Henri Noewen is one of my go-to writers. His own life, towards the end, was dedicated to disabled people who were so profoundly retarded that, really, there was no way to "get" anything out of them.
When I saw this quote posted this morning on facebook, my heart leaped......and sunk. This exactly describes my current condition. The inner war exists-----yes, I want very much to flee from Stu, or find a quick cure. And I sometimes fear that my decision to re-admit him was a kind of running.
But, as I examine it, it is really a slowing down, an admission that his pace is going to be much slower than I had hoped, that my own need to re-charge is profound, that my less frequent visits are still visits. I am not running away. I am slowing my pace to match his.
On Sunday, a young woman shared about her work with an organization called Bring Me Hope. It's an outreach to orphans in China http://www.bringmehope.org/about.. I wish I had a transcript of her whole presentation, it was so compelling. But the observation that hit the closest to home was when she put into words the heart of true ministry. She said "It's really a story of two broken people, the counselor and the orphan, who in drawing together glorify God." The compassion is not just for the one who appears to be needy! We are all needy! That helps me to breathe, to receive the love God offers, to pray that in that opening of my heart, he will plant yet more love, so that his compassion can flow ever more freely.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God" 2 Cor. 3-5
I like the name of that organization......Bring Me Hope. Really, it's what all of us need!
Praying for compassion to be circulating among us----because that's who Jesus really is!