Friday, January 8, 2010

How to be compassionate—Friday’s Fave Five

Week 1 of one of my New Year’s Resolutions has already been turned on its head.

I resolved to love God more with my heart by loving others more with compassion.

But instead of giving compassion, I’ve been receiving it. Which is just the kind of thing that God likes to do. 

Here’s what I learned this week from others about how to show compassion.

1. Look at their photos
Be honest…do you really enjoy looking at tons of photos of somebody else’s grandkids? A few photos? Okay. But an album full? Um, not really.

But Mrs. Davis did. With appropriate ooh’s and ah’s. At my parents’ house last Saturday, she looked at a photo album sitting on the coffee table, and commented so sweetly on all the pictures with sincerity. She is a woman who knows how to love her friends—be interested in THEIR lives. Give attention.

2. Share your own coping strategies
After visiting Jeff’s dad in the hospital last Sunday, we went down a few floors to visit the dad of Jeff’s old classmate, dying with cancer. The mom stepped into the hall and shared how she’s looking to the Lord to provide all they need to get through this.

She helped alleviate some of our pain at this sad scene by being so courageous herself. And her faith inspired me to step it up a notch, and to remember even if in the midst of receiving compassion, you can also give it to others by sharing what works.

3. Take out their trash
When I got to my parents’ house yesterday, their newspaper was propped by their door instead of down by the road, and the garbage can had been brought up. Who did this? Their neighbor, Kathy. Nobody asked her to. She just saw a need and filled it.

Compassion isn’t necessarily flowery words or great sacrifices. It’s sometimes the tiniest things that can fill somebody’s heart with comfort.

4. Give them permission to slack off
Angela called me yesterday to offer to “take out my trash.” I didn’t have anything for her to do, so she gave me another gift instead: she said to take a snow day and not feel guilty about it.

Sometimes it’s good to remind others that they need to rest and take care of themselves with a bit of “nothingness” from time to time. It’s another way to show compassion.

5. Give the gifts you’ve got
My dad got really bad cancer news on Wednesday. By the time we sat down with the scheduling lady to decide what to do next, we were overwhelmed with info. But this woman had compassion oozing out of her. Not mushy sentimentalism, but a strong desire to eliminate undue pressure to make a hasty decision. She couldn’t take away the cancer, but she could take away unnecessary hassles caused by the system.

She gave what she had to give. Others this week have given me songs, prayers, scriptures, hugs, words—all expressions of hope, faith, and love.

The gift of their presence. In person or on-line. All good. Walking beside me. Walking beside my family.

That’s compassion. That’s good. That’s God.

* * *

16 comments:

Beth said...

Hugs Lisa...take care of yourself.. I pray that your dad is able to eek out some comfort..My dad died of cancer 34 years ago today... I know your feelings!

Your FF are so awe-inspiring...

Carrie said...

What an absolutely beautiful, amazing and impacting post! Thank you for sharing and for writing that out for us. You have given me a lot of food for thought.

In the meantime...praying for your dad.

Young Wife said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your father, but what a great post! It's always encouraging to see how God is blessing others.

ellen b said...

What a lovely list of great examples to encourage us to think before we speak and rush off before we show compassion and care for those God puts in our path. I pray that God will continue to bless you with compassionate people around you and for your dad...

Marg said...

I just love how you put that together...I will totally keep you in our prayers considering your father...We can give in many unusual ways, and I too have been blessed by how you put your FFF together...Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Your blog inspires me always. Just want you to know I am reading and praying for your Dad. I know how hard it is. I am a two-time stage 4 cancer survivor presently in good health. As you already know.. God answers even the most difficult prayers in the most amazing way. Don't despair, Lisa.. but pray, pray, pray. I will be praying with you.

Lisa notes... said...

To all who are praying for my dad here--you are PROOF itself of how to be compassionate. Thanks to all of you so much for your kind words. I am blessed to be a part of the bloggy community. So much good can happen out here thanks to good people like you...

Dorothy said...

What a great primer on being compassionate! I'm so glad that you are receiving lots of it lately, Lisa!

Keeping your Dad in prayer...also you and the rest of the family.

Laura said...

I like #4 -- give them permission to slack off!

Willow said...

Lisa, God knew ahead of time that you would need compassion, and He has made it so you would be looking for it by making you aware of wanting to show it. Perfect! I've walked this path of cancer in a parent, and I'll be praying for you and your dad.

Take #4 to heart!

Susanne said...

What a wonderful post. We can all practice compassion a little more actively! Hugs to you, Lisa. And continuing to say a prayer for your father!

Brenda said...

Thats great advice. It makes such a difference in the world when we approach people with compassion and we feel so much better ourselves. AND its what God wants.

Debbie said...

Such great ways to encourage others. I'm sorry to read this news about your dad. I will be praying.

Blessings,
Debbie

elizabeth said...

I'm not even certain what to say about this post. It was so beautiful and heartfelt and I know I'll be pondering it for some time to come. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us and for allowing us to pray for you and your father.

Jewel said...

Such a lovely and inspiring post, Lisa, AND blog. I just discovered your blog and am so blessed to have done so! Thank you for the encouragement to be more like Him! Praying for you, your family, and dear father...in Jesus' name. ((HUGS))

jennifer anderson said...

nice

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