Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Day 14: Compassion

"For a compassionate man nothing human is alien: no joy and no sorrow, no way of living and no way of dying.  This compassion is authority because it does not tolerate the pressures of the in-group, but breaks through the boundaries between languages and countries, rich and poor, educated and illiterate.  This compassion pulls people away from the fearful clique into the large world where they can see that every human face is the face of a neighbor."
-Henri Nouwen, "The Wounded Healer"

My brain and my heart hurt.

I just finished reading a lengthy, very technical article on how trauma in childhood can lead to inflammation, early disease and death among affected adults.  Halfway through the article, I found myself taking a heavy blanket off of the couch and wrapping myself in it, not because I was cold, but because I needed the physical barrier of warmth wrapped around me to quell the growing horror in my heart.

This happens frequently during my afternoon readings.  I text Hubs and tell him I want to hug all of the children.

While talking with a friend last week about my study of child advocacy, I told her that most of the time I interact with the material in a sense of dread and passion.  Part of my heart doesn't want to read about all the horrible things that happen to children when they are neglected or abused.  I don't want to know the imperfections of our systems for attempting to help these children.  I don't want to know about the many that slip through the cracks and the long term effects of trauma.

"But," I said to my friend, "Now that I know, I have to do something."

In this educational season of my life, I feel that the Lord is preparing me for a compassionate role towards the downtrodden.  I have no idea what that will look like in the future, but in the midst of this certificate program I am sensing the importance of seeing these hurt children as image bearers of Christ and my neighbors.

I am learning much that is breaking through my own prejudices and assumptions.  I pray that the sort of compassion that sees every human face as the face of a neighbor continues to grow in my heart through this, and even though the knowledge is hard, I can trust God to help me find a way to use it to make a difference.

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