Compassion

Rev. Diane Rollert, 9 April 2017

Compassion,
you are the I and the thou
that begins in the womb,
the loving, caring,
desire for connection,
the internal response
that moves us to know
each other’s suffering.

You are at the heart
of everything,
of this faith,
and all that is good in humanity.
You are at the centre our being
in its most fragile and beautiful form.

Yet you live beside the worst in us.
We can say we love our neighbour, 
and yet we are capable of atrocities, 
of dropping bombs,
as it that were
a compassionate answer
to solve what has already begun in violence.

Sometimes we assuage our feelings of helplessness
with mindless giving.
We watch as children grow up
to feel less than whole, 
as families die,
and nations starve.

The burden of empathy weighs heavily upon us.
We believe we’ve done justice
in our homes,
in our hearts,
within our own movement,
and yet we let injustice stand.

But compassion begins with forgiveness,
with loving kindness for ourselves,
for the other,
and for all creatures.
We cannot let ourselves become mired
in guilt, in anger and despair.
Compassion is the balance to be found,
that loves the self and loves the other.

Compassion is the tender shoot
that finds its way
through the frozen winter garden,
that reaches up to greet the sun,
and welcomes the spring rain,
that knows how brief this life can be,
how fragile, and yet so persistent.

It is a blessing that grows inside us,
that draws us into loving action,
to tend to what needs to flower,
on this earth,
and within each soul.

Each day, may we begin again,
finding the compassion
that waits within us,
that moves us forward
in times when hope can seem lost.

Amen.