Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Compassion...It's actually God speaking to you.

I'm on Facebook. Everyone is on Facebook. I adore Facebook. I know many people who think it's just drama-filled dribble or a place where one can make his/her life appear much more fabulous than it really is. I know some people hate Facebook. Not me! I seriously love Facebook. Why do I love Facebook so much? Ha! I'm so glad you asked.

Facebook has awarded me the outlet to reconnect with so many people. I have had falling outs with more than a few girlfriends. This all happened before the internet, so when you factor in the time that's passed between then and now, Facebook allows us to try that friendship again. It's been awesome getting to know my old high school girlfriends all over again. It's awesome to watch my old friends grow into parents, spouses, and grown-ups.

Facebook has been a place where I can be "friends" with people I didn't have the opportunity to know well in high school and college. There's this one girl, Rachel, who was a class ahead of my in high school. Rachel was (and is even more so now) stunningly beautiful. In addition to her very fortunate appearance, Rachel was (and is even more so now) a terrific human being. She's beautiful on the inside! I always looked up to Rachel, but kind of from afar. Since she was older than me, and our school didn't include freshmen, I didn't have a whole lot of time to spend with Rachel. Facebook has allowed us to really get to know one another and she has become a very important person in my life. I get support, encouragement, and really good advice from Rachel.

Facebook allows me a glimpse into the opinions and interests of my friends. Don't get me wrong, I have "un-friended" plenty of people who reveal their ignorant, bigoted opinions, but for the most part, I learn a lot. One thing that was recently posted on a friend's wall was a link to this blog post. It changed my life. Here's what she said:

Hey Baby.Tomorrow is a big day. Third Grade – wow.Chase – When I was in third grade, there was a little boy in my class named Adam.Adam looked a little different and he wore funny clothes and sometimes he even smelled a little bit. Adam didn’t smile. He hung his head low and he never looked at anyone at all. Adam never did his homework. I don’t think his parents reminded him like yours do. The other kids teased Adam a lot. Whenever they did, his head hung lower and lower and lower. I never teased him, but I never told the other kids to stop, either.

And I never talked to Adam, not once. I never invited him to sit next to me at lunch, or to play with me at recess. Instead, he sat and played by himself. He must have been very lonely.

I still think about Adam every day. I wonder if Adam remembers me? Probably not. I bet if I’d asked him to play, just once, he’d still remember me.

I think that God puts people in our lives as gifts to us. The children in your class this year, they are some of God’s gifts to you.

So please treat each one like a gift from God. Every single one.

Baby, if you see a child being left out, or hurt, or teased, a little part of your heart will hurt a little. Your daddy and I want you to trust that heart- ache. Your whole life, we want you to notice and trust your heart-ache. That heart ache is called compassion, and it is God’s signal to you to do something. It is God saying, Chase! Wake up! One of my babies is hurting! Do something to help! Whenever you feel compassion – be thrilled! It means God is speaking to you, and that is magic. It means He trusts you and needs you.
Sometimes the magic of compassion will make you step into the middle of a bad situation right away.

Compassion might lead you to tell a teaser to stop it and then ask the teased kid to play. You might invite a left-out kid to sit next to you at lunch. You might choose a kid for your team first who usually gets chosen last. These things will be hard to do, but you can do hard things.

Sometimes you will feel compassion but you won’t step in right away. That’s okay, too. You might choose instead to tell your teacher and then tell us. We are on your team – we are on your whole class’ team. Asking for help for someone who is hurting is not tattling, it is doing the right thing. If someone in your class needs help, please tell me, baby. We will make a plan to help together.

When God speaks to you by making your heart hurt for another, by giving you compassion, just do something. Please do not ignore God whispering to you. I so wish I had not ignored God when He spoke to me about Adam. I remember Him trying, I remember feeling compassion, but I chose fear over compassion. I wish I hadn’t. Adam could have used a friend and I could have, too.

Chase – We do not care if you are the smartest or fastest or coolest or funniest. There will be lots of contests at school, and we don’t care if you win a single one of them. We don’t care if you get straight As. We don’t care if the girls think you’re cute or whether you’re picked first or last for kickball at recess. We don’t care if you are your teacher’s favorite or not. We don’t care if you have the best clothes or most Pokemon cards or coolest gadgets. We just don’t care.

We don’t send you to school to become the best at anything at all. We already love you as much as we possibly could. You do not have to earn our love or pride and you can’t lose it. That’s done.

We send you to school to practice being brave and kind.

Kind people are brave people. Because brave is not a feeling that you should wait for. It is a decision. It is a decision that compassion is more important than fear, than fitting in, than following the crowd.

Trust me, baby, it is. It is more important.

Don’t try to be the best this year, honey.

Just be grateful and kind and brave. That’s all you ever need to be.
Take care of those classmates of yours, and your teacher, too. You Belong to Each Other. You are one lucky boy . . . with all of these new gifts to unwrap this year.

I love you so much that my heart might explode.Enjoy and cherish your gifts.And thank you for being my favorite gift of all time.
Love, Mama

I have read this to my daughter many times, and the more I read it, the more I want to meet the woman who wrote this. Faith has always been something I've struggled with. Perhaps it's because no one has ever put it so simply to me before. I know it sounds silly, but this little blog post has brought me one step closer to finding God again.

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