Saturday, February 15, 2014

Innocent beauty

Gratian's lovely feet. senk 2014.
Sometimes when we try to comfort and love those dearest to us, we find instead they resist that compassionate care. I consider the times when Gratian cries, even when he's held or nursed or soothed or waltzed about the room in a gentle sway while calming music plays in the background. I consider the times when Ezra - usually overtired - fusses about having to take a nap or being required to wear a hat to go out in the cold or sharing toys. I consider the times when Joey scowls over having to engage in constructive and creative play before he can watch a cartoon. And, of course, I consider the myriad times when I have pushed away rather than allowed myself to be comforted.

Of course, it's not always easy. The time when we need compassion the most is often when we get it the least. I remember a time in my past when my mother was in the hospital. She had fallen and none of us knew to what extent she had hurt herself. Feeling obliged to attend a church meeting the next day before she could come home, I was only half-engaged in what was happening. Afterwards, I was ready to leave - to find out how my mother was doing. I didn't expect to be stopped by someone who was requesting me to sign up to provide food for an upcoming dinner. I was so angry at the lack of compassion over my desire to be with my mother, I lashed out, "You have got to be joking! I need to go see how my mother is doing." Someone else attempted to calm me, but I just pushed away.

Do you ever feel yourself doing that, friend? Do you push away when you're at that gut-wrenching state and tears drip without trying? 

As I hold my newborn's little feet during bath times, I am amazed at the innocent beauty captured there. Newborns have no way to fend for themselves. They require a constant state of care and compassion. Even when they're pushing away and fussing, compassion is what they need. It's not always easy to show or to receive compassion, but it doesn't mean we should stop trying.

So, if you have been trying to show compassion, don't give up. If you have been slow to receive a helping hand, allow yourself to feel the comfort others want to give. If compassion has not been in your vocabulary, by all means start using it! God doesn't mean for us to live a life of solitude. We all need the love of others and we all need to give love to others. 

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