Home thoughts compassion — dances, deaths and the power of drawing nearer to each other

compassion — dances, deaths and the power of drawing nearer to each other

by Shawni

I took last week to take a break from social media. Trying to get my brain wrapped around what is happening in the world and how to sort it out for myself, how to learn, how to teach, how to take in information. Being truly present with those around me. And it has been good for my soul. I’m working on the best way to go forward, disrupting myself and how I live. Lots more thoughts on that soon, but for today I want to talk just for a minute about compassion.

I wrote a little while ago about how much I love that word, especially right now. “Com” is the latin derivative of “with” and “passion” is from the latin root “pati” which means “to suffer.” I love to think of going beyond sympathy to true empathy as we “suffer together” to try to figure things out. Making the work to be “in” the spaces where others are suffering. True mourning with those who mourn and comforting those in need of comfort. And as we all know there is a LOT of that needed in the world right now, on all levels.

My girls have had some callings to suffer with others lately. To learn more in depth what compassion is all about.

A few months ago Claire, on wings of glory, was all set to go to her first dance. She was freshly sixteen (had been waiting anxiously for that magical year to date), had asked a cute kid to be her date to the girls-choice dance, and had gone through multiple planning sessions with her girlfriends to figure out the logistics. They finally set out on their “day date” (the date leading up to the actual “dance date”), only to get a notification that Claire’s date’s best friend had been in a horrible car accident. He was Claire’s friend as well, and they rushed to the hospital to lend their hearts. Heart-breakingly, the friend passed away the next day. Claire became a part of all the suffering in the wake of that horrible loss. She stood in the hallway for the hallowed organ donation memorial walk. She came home from mourning with the family and friends for a few days straight, eyes red and swollen. A piece of her heart offered up to give them part of herself amidst the darkness.

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Then came Corona. The world in seeking shelter, compartmentalized away from one another. And in the midst of that, another kid she knew passed away. More sorrow. More pieces of herself given away.

Then the Black Lives Matter events filled up the world, humanity surging to understand one another better, anger, violence, love, pain, so many voices mixing together to be heard.

And in the midst of all that, a third friend passed away. Just a few days ago. One of Grace’s very best friends little brothers who was Claire’s age. A friend to both of them. Who held part of both their hearts.

Sometimes it is just so difficult to understand the things that happen in the world. Sometimes it seems as if the earth might break into pieces. My heart is aching for this family. And along with them, all the families who are suffering in the world right now. So much “suffering with” or “compassion” to be infused into each other.

It has been beautiful to watch my girls hearts reach out. Grace gathered every friend she could to our house the morning after his passing. They poured their hearts into notes on white hearts:

And gave them to this family.

A small token of love, but an action that meant so much to both sides.

There is so much power in compassion.

I don’t know why so many sad things are mixing and boiling over right now in this world of ours, but I’m so grateful for the power that comes when we draw together, so much stronger together when we lend our hearts and “suffer with” those who are suffering. So grateful for those who suffer with me when I am in the depths. It breaks my heart that all these kids are learning so much suffering at such an early age and that these families are facing the impossible right now. But so grateful for the beautiful compassion that is learned in the darkness.

Beauty for ashes is found when we link together. And LOVE is such a powerful thing.

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19 comments

A June 17, 2020 - 3:14 pm

Bless your girls’ hearts (and yours!) that is so much heartache in such a concentrated time. I don’t even have the words.

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Maureen June 17, 2020 - 5:16 pm

That is a LOT of loss for your girls to deal with. My heart goes out to them, and especially to the families of their friends.

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k June 17, 2020 - 11:35 pm

Covid -19 is still here, Arizona’s numbers are rapidly rising, It’s too bad you guys keep traveling to unessential places disregarding the health and respect of the communities you infiltrate so you can hike and take pics of the scenery, how was your vacation in Lake Tahoe last week?

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KerstinEK June 18, 2020 - 6:11 am

There is a time and a place. This post is neither, K.

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Susan June 18, 2020 - 9:11 am

Sometimes the ones that are the loudest are the ones who hurt the most. God loves you! My prayers are with you, K.

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Priya June 18, 2020 - 9:40 am

Susan, what a beautiful and thoughtful reply. So very true. We must show love to those who are hurting the most.

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Tammy June 18, 2020 - 5:58 am

Grace & Claire you are in my thoughts and prayers as you mourn with your friends & families over the loss of their loved ones. You are wonderful examples of what good is in the world. May Angels attend you as you comfort your friends.

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Meredith E. June 18, 2020 - 6:47 am

Thank you for providing such a beautiful image of compassion and example that we can easily follow (paper hearts) when we need to show others that we are present when we cannot be physically present with them. I am so sorry for the heartache your family has experienced and admire the outpouring of love from the pain. It is especially hard as a parent to watch your children’s hearts hurt while yours aches alongside of them.

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Heidi June 18, 2020 - 9:06 am

Oh my heart breaks for them. That’s so much for little hearts to take. Bless you all x

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Jen June 18, 2020 - 1:00 pm

I’m so sorry for your girls’ losses and for all who are mourning.

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Kristine June 20, 2020 - 4:25 pm

It’s a lot of loss. Part of life.

Why no masks? I can’t bring my kid with me to a doctor’s appointment. No extra people unless it is a minor’s appt and then only one parent. I need to wear a mask and get my temp taken to even enter a doctor’s office or get my hair cut. I have to wear a mask and stand 6 feet apart at the grocery store. Funerals are still small affairs with spacing with people expected to watch remotely. Church discouraged. These photos confuse me.

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Heather June 23, 2020 - 5:30 pm

Kristine,
It is my understanding that this picture is from before the pandemic, when a young passed away while school was still in session.

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Christy June 21, 2020 - 10:05 am

Kristine, if you are referring to the photo in the hospital, I understood it to have been taken pre-Corona. To Shawni and family, I ache for you and the loss of such young lives. While it is a part of life, it must be excruciatingly painful and heartbreaking. I offer my prayers and love.

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Kristine June 21, 2020 - 3:28 pm

I see. I read a few months ago.. but I think you are right it was farther back.

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Mom June 22, 2020 - 12:09 pm

I am a puddle here. I knew all about these tragic events but seeing those white hearts full of love touched me deeply! That is a heavy load for everyone, but especially these young tender hearts! What a beautiful way to show their love!

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Amy June 26, 2020 - 10:48 am

It’s funny the small world we live in that keeps us intertwined even as strangers (kind of strangers because my sister and I grew up going to school with your husband). I saw a picture of those hearts on social media and thought it was a wonderful gesture of love and hope, especially when there is such a helpless feeling that accompanies death. I also saw your daughter at the viewing surrounded by SO MANY teenagers loving on each other. I hope you were able to or watched the funeral via YouTube and if not, I highly suggest at least listening to the father’s talk. I’ve never felt more peace than when I Heard him speak. It made me want to be more in tune with my Father and most definitely “Hear Him”.

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Amy June 26, 2020 - 10:49 am

That should read ‘able to attend’

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Shawni June 27, 2020 - 9:12 am

Thank you Amy, it sure is a small world and yes, it was an incredibly beautiful funeral, they all blew me away with their love and compassion.
xoxo

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