Saturday, December 11, 2021

Compassion: AdventWord Day 14

We are one of those families now with a doorbell camera. This isn’t because we are overly anxious about safety- although life with four kids does put a parent on edge- or someone sniping a Target package from our front steps during the holidays.

Well maybe. Amber does love her deliveries of chai tea.
We really got it because we enjoy seeing the silly reactions of neighborhood kids as they come to our porch looking to play with one of our maniacs. The conversations we have with them through the microphone when not home are equally entertaining.
Most times we know who is at the door with no need for the camera. We have learned neighborhood kids have unique patterns of ringing that sucker that leads our spawns to barrel off the couch and run ready to make some mischief. They know who is there with impeccable accuracy.
But it is nice, when we do not know, to be able to see who is on the porch. Especially at night. Or when someone is home alone. We can feel more at ease about opening the door.
Poet and mystic, Thich Nhat Hanh, writes,
Please call me by my true names
So I can wake up
and the door of my heart
could be left open
the door of compassion
Compassion, which means to suffer with someone, requires we know the truth of another and their pain. This helps us know how and if we are even to be invited into their struggle. Compassion also demands a tougher task, to know ourselves. To confront the truths, even the most brash and brutal ones, about who we are. Then we can know how we can respond to the suffering of a friend or stranger. We can also know how and who we risk vulnerability to let through the doors of our hearts.
Either way, the call of compassion is to openness and truth telling. Only then can we be awakened to God with us and for us and among us, in friends and strangers alike. Only then can we be those who enter into the suffering of others…or let others into our own.