Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Compassion

My Biblical Counseling class talked about the strengths my spiritual gifts will bring to counseling and the weaknesses these same gifts will have.  Basically being able to see and speak truth is very useful, but it needs to be balanced with mercy and compassion.  Even though I don't know if I will actually become a Biblical Counselor, I have been praying for God to increase my compassion.  I do not like it.  I do not like being more aware of the pain of others and feeling compassion for their pain.  It hurts.  I'd rather stay ignorant and clueless and stomp on toes and dismiss others' pain.  I know that living isolated from other people's pain is not what God intends, but...

I guess part of the problem is that I am able to have more compassion because of my own pain.  I have not always used my pain to grow in compassion, but I've asked to grow and God delivered.

I feel compassion for my husband and his siblings because I know what it like to lose a mother to death.

I weep for the family of Katie, a 14 year old daughter adopted from China and dying from cancer, because I am a parent and I know how devastating the end of cancer is by watching my step-mom pass last January.  One of the recent posts done by the mother of Katie talked about how little Katie ate and yet she rejoiced at the 1/2 Jamba Juice, and I wept.  I remember the same excitement of feeding my step-mom two spoonfuls of soup.

My most recent "aha" I finally understand and feel sorrow for/with you is for people struggling with infertility.  I don't know what they are going through, but my heart has grown two (or at least one and 1/2) sizes bigger in this category.  Partly because of a discussion about infertility and adoption on my favorite forum and partly because of this week's Sunday Linkage which led me to this post (a list of over 200 posts about infertility and adoption).  I have only had time to read about 5 of the links but the descriptions and the links I read stirred my heart.  I was one of those ones that thought (I never said!) but thought "why don't they just adopt."  But now I finally get it.  The loss of one thing is not replaced by the gain of another.

People sharing their stories helped, but again it was because God linked it in my mind to my own life.  I feel like I am in a similar yet completely different situation.  Right now I feel like we will never complete an adoption.  Realistically I believe we are 14-18 months away from a NSN referral.  That is what I thought in August, also.  Technically the passing of September, October, November and December should have brought my timeline to 10-14 months.  I cannot believe in that, though many do.  I hope they are right or that God sees to bring us to a match another way.  However, right now I "just" feel pain at the waiting and the lack of hope and the desire to have my child in my arms and start loving on her.  

Many could look at my life and say "why don't you just have another bio kid?" or "you have three kids, 2 boys and a girl why do you need more?" or the more direct comparison for me is: "God gave you Sunflower while you were waiting; why doesn't she satisfy your longing for a daughter?"  Because while I always said I don't care if my kids are bio or adopted, I think I should have finished with "as long as some of them are adopted."  If we never adopt it will be a hurt on my soul, one that will heal and not prevent a contented life, but will have a scar.  I am not trying to claim my pain is necessarily as deep as someone desiring a bio child (comparing measures of pain is not a good idea anyway), but it helps me understand and express sympathy for those who are hurting.

God is helping me learn more compassion by linking other people's pain with my own scars and bruises.  I need these links to open my mind to other perspectives.  Right or wrong, I need new perspectives to feel mercy.  I am glad God is stretching me to show and feel more compassion even though it hurts.  I just wish growth in compassion came with the right words to say in comfort.

(How is that for a long and wordy way to say "I feel sad today?"  Blaming it on growing in compassion is a lot more spiritual than I didn't drink any Coke today.)
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2 comments:

Nancy said...

Hope your blues have lifted some.
I took a class re spiritual gifts a while back too. LOVED it. But now I don't remember what my gifts were. Maybe a refresher is in order.
nancy

a Tonggu Momma said...

I'm guessing you've already figured out that compassion is not my spiritual gift either... but you are right, the more we open our eyes and ears, the more we feel.