Compassion has a time limit. I am not sure when it begins but there comes a point where compassion ends. For some the compassion ends very fast, within a couple months. For others it takes a little while, around the first anniversary of the death. It is amazing to me the way people can change so very fast and who it can be. It’s the “don’t think about it” syndrome.
Sometimes I feel like the “certain man” described in Luke 10 who was robbed and left in the street naked and half dead. The people who should have cared passed by on the other side of the road; the one who had compassion was the one who should have kept walking down the road. The Samaritan stopped, bandaged the man’s wounds, stayed the night with him and bought him a hotel room. The person you never thought would care – a complete stranger, cared. It’s easier to care for a stranger then someone you are close to or “should” care for. Strange but true.
Jesus has a heart of great compassion. Over and over again in Scripture He had compassion on people- individuals and groups. Jesus healed out of compassion. Jesus fed out of compassion. Jesus died out of compassion for us in our state of separation from God. Compassion for our state of sin.
But, as humans our compassion runs out. Caring about someone else’s loss dissipates. All you have to do is think about 911. The feeling Americans had for each other September 11th and for a few months after was truly unbelievable. Such compassion for our fellow Americans and for those who lost their lives trying to save others, hasn’t been felt before or since. The changes we were willing to make, the way we talked to each other, the oneness we felt. September 11 is coming up in the next few days. I am sure the families who actually lost someone, a child, a parent, a sibling, a friend, I’m sure they still feel the pain, the very real pain of missing a loved one. Oh, most of us will think about it, where we were, what we were doing but we will not feel the same loss, we more than likely will not even feel the loss as we did then. The intensity has diminished.
As a mother who has had a child die (there really needs to be a name for it – like widow for loss of a spouse) I know compassion runs out. Faster for some, slower for others. It’s part of human nature. People no longer think – this may hurt her. They do not think of the loss we feel anymore.
Why? People do have to move forward. We move forward in a different way. A lonelier way. We have someone missing, forever. Someone we would have given up our own life for. Then, on top of all of it, the changes that occur in the living around us are hard to deal with. People who have never had compassion, those who have lost their compassion and those who simply are selfish and it never crossed their minds to think of anyone else, we have to deal with all of these. Oh, and be nice!
I have always loved Christmas. Most of my memories are large family gatherings, helping my Grandfather decorate for Christmas, and of course, the food. Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Siblings – well, everyone would be around at one time or another. As an adult, I have tried to pass down this love of Christmas to my family. My husband and I actually have a Christmas Eve Eve night where the Grandchildren spend the night and we cook, laugh, play and just have plain ole fun!
Funny thing is, I didn’t dread last Christmas as much as I do this Christmas. I guess last Christmas I still had that “we gotta do this” spirit. This Christmas I have the “what are we gonna do now” spirit.
Same goes for Thanksgiving. Just what is it going to be like? It appears all of our big family gathers are over. We (my husband and myself) can’t take them anymore. Easter was all we could stand and we just can’t take it. I hate it with all my being, but it’s not fair to anyone to put ourselves through it. Oh, we’ll have the immediate family but the extended family gatherings are gone. It is so very sad.
Of course, there are those who will say it is all my fault. Maybe it is. I just can’t deal with the soap opera surrounding my life. Some will say I am the selfish one, but actually I have lost myself in all of this. I have decided that’s okay too. My husband and I have talked about it, we will do the best we can for our immediate family – go on.
Some will read this and say I have been to blunt. This blog is about me, Amanda’s Mom and my journey. It’s not about anyone or anything else. I am hoping to continue to help others who feel the same way I feel, to see what may be coming for them and to see it’s normal. Many of you have written me about going through the exact same things I have gone through and are relieved to find someone who understands. I understand. Some of you are just starting this craziness of trying to find a normal within your life. It’s like living a lifetime movie or a soap opera. Hang in there! You are not alone.
Now to tie this altogether. While people may forget, or lose their compassion, or you simply can not fathom what is ahead – God is there. Jesus is compassionate and cares for us. We are not alone. We can have compassion for one another also. I have compassion for all of you out there who have had a child die. I think and pray for you continually. I know the up and down days. The hurts, the sorrows, the out of control feelings you have. I have them too. There are good days. Days where you laugh, enjoy your family and friends. Days were you really open your eyes to see God at work all around you. Days where you see His power, peace, joy and abundance. Days when you feel His presence and open your eyes and see His wonderful creation. Days where you are thankful, yes, thankful to be alive! These days should out number the bad days. As time goes on, it really does happen more and more! There is HOPE! There is LOVE!
Don’t give up. Don’t give in to the feelings of hopelessness. Decide it’s okay if everyone is not happy with us. Try our best to let those who are living a soap opera or a movie or in la-la land not affect our feelings of grieve and healing. It’s not our job to make everyone happy. It is our job to continue on with our life in the way God would have us – we each have a purpose. Our assigned purpose from the Father Himself. The uncaring will always be around. Let us not be one of those. Let us have a heart of compassion. Let us love all.
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Col 3:12-15 (NASB)