Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > HugOfCompassion


A Hug of Compassion

“When you did it to one of the….”

Dec 9, 2004

Juanita is a delightful, young African woman from the state of New York. I met her in the hospital at Augusta, GA. She has a beautiful smile, enjoys gleeful laughter, and shares her enthusiastic faith in God, even as her younger sister is seriously ill with cancer and lying in a nearby hospital room.

My brother Mike introduced me to Juanita. I sat in the chair beside her in the waiting room. As she told of her family crisis and spoke of her joy in Christ, I sensed a need to pray with her. So, before leaving the waiting room, I smiled and asked that we pray, all three of us, together. I reached out my hands, and Mike and Juanita joined me in a circle of prayer. I prayed; then, Juanita prayed, also.

Through the following days I would meet Juanita in the waiting room or hallway. I, also, met her mother, who did not have the joyful spirit of the daughter. Rather, the mother spoke of her pain at the younger daughter’s illness, and her behavior was one of weariness and worry. Also, I sensed under the smile of Juanita was a heart hurting deeply for her younger sister.

Therefore, the last time I saw Juanita, before my leaving the hospital, was in the hall outside the waiting room. I smiled in response to her usual smile. However, this time, I reached out and hugged her close. Hugging her, I spoke to her, as she rested her head against me. “I know you have strong faith, but I know you hurt, also… It hurts, doesn’t it?” In holding her and speaking her pain for her, I felt her resting and knowing she was safe. I, too, felt a rush of compassion move through me. And, when letting go of Juanita and looking at her in the eyes, I saw this time, not only the joy of a smile, I saw fresh tears, likewise.


As I reflected on this time, on the trip back to Florida, I felt the bliss of being gifted to have compassion and share compassion. I realized, again, that such moments are what my life and ministry are most about. Sure, I like to preach and write. But, my greatest sense of life calling is reflected more in those moments of sharing the pain of someone like a Juanita and speaking for her and, even more, being a voice of Spirit to offer space to sense grace, feel pain, affirm faith, and share feelings without fear. I call this Free Space, or Grace Space. I call the process and means “simply being present” or “being fully present.”

This compassion is not what has been called in the Buddhist tradition “idiot compassion,” which often is little more than a sentimental pity: sadly, often Jesus is presented more as a man of idiot-like compassion, as though he was a touchy-feely man who wanted to empathize with persons' felt needs at the expense of his strong call to decision and discipleship. Rather, this is a Christ Compassion that gives of itself in giving, and it gives for no other motive than that Giving gives without any need of self-reference or outside, external motivating energy. This is to say that such Giving needs no motive, but is a motive unto Itself, and the Reason in this compassion is within the Source and Nature of Compassion. God, as Love, being All-in-All contains in a differentiating unity the motive, means, and expression of all true Christ Compassion.


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