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.
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.