A heart of compassion
Last spring I started writing on my writing blog - privately, for myself. And I got an email,
"Suzanne, you are quiet. What are you up to at the moment?"
"I'm writing this,' I said, 'What do you think of it?'
'I'll tell you when I stop crying.'
Then, I thought, well that is one person. It is not exactly a published collection. And I decided against mentioning it here.
But, today after school, as I was packing up my papers, a man stood in the middle of my classroom, waiting to speak to me - the school engineer.
'How's your daughter?' he asked.
'Better,' I said, 'She'll be going back to school soon.'
'Did you write that story about the girl?' he asked.
'Yes," I said, but this time I didn't ask him how he liked it.
'I cried,' he said. 'Can I make a copy and give it to a friend? Is that all right?'
'It's on the internet,' I said. 'I'll show you.'
So we sat at the computer and we talked about children and language and Shakespeare and the Bible, and Alter and Adam and Eve. He talked about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. And I talked about how God has chosen the foolish things of this world to shame the wise and the weak things of this world to shame the strong. And he talked about his family and his university studies.
And then I sat silent and stared out the window and waited - I waited until finally he told me what he had come to say.
He told me how his son had died. He had lived never seeing, never talking, never knowing about life. He lay dying while he lived, a constant object of care. He wondered out loud why his son had lived so long. Then he told me that his son had lived to create a heart of compassion in those who cared for him, and when he died he left a void.
He got up and left and then I cried.
- ἐνδύσασθε οὖν ὡς ἐκλεκτοὶ τοῦ θεοῦ ἅγιοι καὶ ἠγαπημένοι σπλάγχνα οἰκτιρμοῦ χρηστότητα ταπεινοφροσύνην πραΰτητα μακροθυμίαν 13 ἀνεχόμενοι ἀλλήλων καὶ χαριζόμενοι ἑαυτοῖς ἐάν τις πρός τινα ἔχῃ μομφήν καθὼς καὶ ὁ κύριος ἐχαρίσατο ὑμῖν οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς 14 ἐπὶ πᾶσιν δὲ τούτοις τὴν ἀγάπην ὅ ἐστιν σύνδεσμος τῆς τελειότητος
- Clothe yourselves therefore, God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, with a heart of compassion, with usefulness, humility, gentleness, and a slow temper, putting up with each other. Indulge one another if anyone has a complaint against someone else. As the Lord indulges us, so we others. To all these things add love which binds to completeness. Mine
- Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. KJV
- Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. TNIV Colossians 3:12-14