It is nice to finally be healed enough from my most recent surgery that I have the energy to cook and entertain again. Whoo hoo! Just having the energy to cook again and create healthy low fat, low carb meals for my wife and I is such a blessing. Last night, I was chatting with a friend who was having one of those days where she just needed to know she was loved. I suggested she come join us for a very simplistic dinner. It was a chicken stir-fry with brown rice for her and Zoe. She wanted to know what she could bring and I said just come. It was those last two words – just come, that really spoke to her heart and soul.
It dawned on me this morning that what I had done for my friend was to practice compassion. At the end of the day, isn't compassion really about us treating people with dignity and respect, hearing their cries to be held, nurtured, loved, heard, etc. and then finding our own way, of contributing to the relief from their suffering and the expression of love, healing, and peace. I began thinking about all the times we were hungry. had no money to buy food and then were blessed when friends dropped off a dish. I thought about a friend of mine who is legally blind and made me a tray of lasagna when I could still eat carbs and had just come home from the hospital. I thought about all the times people had stopped at the store when both Zoe and I had the flu at the same time and brought us tea, soup, and other “I have the flu” staples. As I thought about all these times I was reminded of a story in the New Testament where Jesus talks about how the way we treat the least of thee is the way we treat the Divine. It made me grateful all over again for the ability of others in our lives to practice compassion on us.
As I talked to a friend of mine about all this, she asked, “Did it ever dawn on you that you always practice compassion with us.” Then she asked, “How many times have you made soup for anybody because Spirit told you they were sick? How many times have you gone to the store for someone when they had the flu? How many times have you shared what you had with someone you knew was hungry? How many times have you practiced compassion on those you know and don’t know without expecting anything from anyone? Huh?”
Sometimes practicing compassion is so easy. We just say, there is an empty seat at our table. Would you like to join? If you are hungry, come let us give you something to drink? If you are hungry, come let us give you something to eat? If you need to rest at our table, come and we will give you a night off from the stressors of daily life?
When our friend left, she was so much more relaxed. We had eaten, laughed, shared, and lifted each other up. We had each in our own ways practiced compassion on each other and isn't that what true friendship is all about.