Today in New York dawned bright, crisp, and sunny. Robed in her fall colors, New York is truly beautiful. In the midst of streets recently washed in yesterday’s rain, kids bouncing down the street on their way to school, and a sense of optimism in the air, I find myself reflecting on a troubling question. How much pain, anguish, and despair do we need to discover, see, and or experience to move us into a life shaped by unconditional, out of control, and unmerited compassion?
Do we need to see millions dying of aids? It is already happening. Do we need to see millions starving to death? Again, it is already happening. Do we need to realize children are being exploited for their gender and physical abilities, in their millions? Again, this is a reality in the world we live! The innocent are dying in roadside bombs, being victimized in unreported wars, and losing even the scarce possessions they hold due to natural and unnatural forces. You don’t have to go very far, certainty not beyond your community to discover people struggling with pain and anguish. This is the world in which we live.
Yet compassion, realizing hope, and addressing the root causes of the problems is not the top of our agendas. It seems we have other priorities.
Recent events suggest it takes a disaster beyond imagination at our doorsteps to serious get our attention, if even for a moment. I wonder. Imagine a scenario; “the entrance gate to Zion will be clotted with people mourning their dead—a city stooped under the weight of her loss, brought to her knees by her sorrows.” (Isaiah 3.26) Would this be enough?
We don’t have to wait until the evidence overwhelms our senses. We can act, now, in this moment. We can touch the lives of the people we meet – sharing hope, dispensing compassion, walking along side and sharing the load. It all starts with a smile, a simple act of kindness or courtesy, and struggling with tough decisions. Hope can be shared. It’s ours with God.
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