Thursday, September 8, 2011

The art of compassion

It's cooling down here. The mornings have that crisp taste of Autumn. The birds are flying in huge clusters. The leaves have just a hint of color. I love the fall. Last week we harvested our honey W00t! Next week we start to gather the wood that will heat us through the winter. Seasons bring change but it is slow and predictable to some extent. We could have a snow storm any day here but it won't really start to linger until Christmas. That feels almost as dependable as the sun coming up every day. The weather is untamed but the seasons will change eventually.

I think about our life seasons. I am watching several people dear to me start to enter their closing season. I believe this life is limited and harsh. Like winters in the north. There are many times when getting out into the elements is unattractive if not unthinkable. I believe that God is good and leaving this life will only be gain if we will receive God's intention for us. I believe there is way more of everything awesome in this world like color and light and music. But the transition is frightening to us all, isn't it?

I think that our life seasons were meant to move slowly, predictably, but they don't always. I watch as families try to cope but are often impatient with new frailties and this kind of change. When we are in pain or if we are just failing physically our worlds shrink there is less that is important but the things that are important become very important.

Compassion in the midst of this season is huge. I remember a time when I hadn't the strength to wash my own hair. Having to have it washed by another is humiliating. I remember the humiliation of my grandmother as I helped bath her in her last days. It couldn't be helped but I didn't then understand what I could do to make it easier.

Compassion is an art I want to learn.

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