How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these. ~George Washington Carver
It isn’t where you would expect it to come from. Some of it might be there, but most often compassion seems to stem from where you least expect it: small children, acquaintances from your church, close friends, and even strangers along your path. As I struggle with my recovery, I have also struggled with feelings of loneliness and abandonment from those whom I least expected it. The feelings have been nearly as excruciating as learning to walk again, dealing with sleepless nights and pain beyond the 10 point scale designed by the medical professionals.
Weaving through the wall of agony and laced with my feelings of a lack of compassion was the over riding sense that God had also abandoned me. Perhaps it was the pain medications, the unrelenting agony, or side affects of anesthesia, but it almost felt as if I mattered to no one. After all, few cards lined the mantle, the phone rarely rang and visitors were sparse–surely God had also forgotten me. As the tears flowed, I thought about how it must be for those confined to a nursing home–adult children, relatives and friends too busy to call except at the appointed and expected holidays. I remembered the past six months as we served as ministers of care to the nursing home for our monthly visits. I saw how anxious the residents were to see us, give us hugs, and a welcoming smile–and I realized that I was feeling how they must feel every day.
How sad it is, that we reach out only to those we don’t know, donate to causes without a personal attachment, and yet forget the ones who are supposed to be dear to us. In a fleeting moment we may be gone and there will be no second chances. This journey has given me a new gratitude for the role we have as ministers of care–if only for a couple of hours a month, I am grateful to be available to ease some of the loneliness-share a smile, and a bit of compassion.
I am realizing through His revelation, that I do matter to Him and He is, after all, the one who really matters.