Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Collecting Eye Colors

When I left you last week I was on a mission to learn compassion by looking deeply into other people’s eyes.  My method was simple and low risk.  I would make a note of the eye color of each person I talked to.  So far, my greatest revelation has been that there are just a whole lot of people with brown eyes. But other things are happening as well.

I’m feeling a bit calmer.  I’m feeling more connected to God.

I’ve watched less TV—this is not that big of a deal because we really don’t watch much TV anyway.  I am totally maxed out on mass shootings and couldn’t drum up any interest in the latest rampage at Ft Hood.  There’s just so much of it, I’m overwhelmed. Since I can’t do anything more than be nice to strangers at Walmart I’ve decided it’s more helpful to myself and society if I just turn the TV off. 

I’ve dusted off my prayer list.  Once anyone gets on the list I’m inclined to keep them there forever.  This sometimes leads to a kind of frozen status quo, especially when I forget to update it. Every day there are the same people with the same problems and I know some of these problems are never going away.   But it had been so long since I’ve tended to the list (as in actually reading it and praying) that two people on it have died so I took them off the list and let God be in charge of them.  Then I added a few new folks. 

But the next day after going over the list I ran into someone I had not seen or thought of in a long time except that she and her son have been on my prayer list for several years.   We hugged each other and I asked for an update on her son, the one I’d been praying for.  The good/bad news was that he’s on a vacation of sorts in the county jail after failing a breathalyzer test.  It was a minor relief in a weird sort of way because she doesn’t have to worry about where he is or how he will eat without a job.  He’ll have more chances to figure things out when he’s released.  His mother is convinced that eventually he will figure it out. We stood there at the gas station and agreed that it would be nice if he figured it out in her lifetime.

My friend has brown eyes.

Then I went to one of those church committees where you don't know what is your next step so you pray for the Holy Spirit to show up and It did. Except that this time the Holy Spirit was dressed up like a guy named Larry.  And through Larry, the Spirit gave us the most obvious and awesome solution to a problem we had wrestled with for months. Then the next day Larry went into the hospital for a blood pressure problem.   I felt so much gratitude to him for being an agent of the Holy Spirit that it turned into compassion without any effort on my part. And now Larry's worries are my own.

Larry’s eyes are blue.

We had a new girl at the rehab this week.  She told our bible study group that she has PTSD and doesn’t know how to deal with it.  It looms in her life like a frightening giant and she’s afraid to even start working on dealing with it.  The women in our group spent some time reassuring her that no problem was too big for God and she was surrounded by more friends than she can imagine, friends who will walk the road with her and hold her hand.  We are a mixture of about 14 women from Morgan’s Mercy Mansion drug and alcohol rehab and another 14 or so women from various mainline denominations around town. We are a hodgepodge of ages, beliefs, economic status and hair color.  Some of us have been in jails and prisons.  A few have worked as prostitutes and one has graduated from seminary.  Some of us have brown eyes and some have blue eyes.  But something wonderful happens whenever we are together:  Their passions become ours. And they teach me compassion every day.

I realized that I've been yakking about this Charter of Compassion without really knowing what it says.  So I posted it to my other blog, Really Cool Stuff.  You can find it there.

Let me leave you with the words of the day from my favorite website,  inward/outward.

My Symphony


To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurrying never. In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.

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1 comment:

Tina Chiodo said...

We are all so different yet we are one. I like that.