There is nothing small about compassion. There is nothing small about making a difference in the life of one human being. But sometimes, we need an experience that rocks our world. Or, to invite us to hit the reset button. You know, back to what makes us human. To say yes to whatever connects us, as humans, as children of God, as people who need compassion and mercy for sustenance, as people who cannot walk this journey alone. And to say no to whatever divides or demeans or belittles or degrades or incites hate and exclusion. And I must speak that yes, and speak that no, not only with my voice, but with my hands and my feet. Lord hear my prayer. When the world feels small and dark and frightful, it is not surprising we choose to protect our hearts. We do not easily give them away.
This happens when we live from the notion that we carry only so much emotional capital—you know, that precious commodity which allows us to pay attention, to focus, to contribute, to care, to forgive, to set free. So, it goes without saying that conservation is called for. And it becomes our default. “There is no need to spend empathy on just anybody,” we think. “We need to pick and choose.” Or more bluntly, “There are those who deserve care, and those who don’t.” Lord, help us. We lose track of the values that sustain us. There is nothing small about compassion. It is the thread of life woven through each day. As humans—in the image of God—we touch, love, give, receive, and redeem. It’s time to rethink our notion about the scarcity of compassion. This is an affirmation of what is already alive and well within each of us. We have the capacity to be places of shelter and hope and inclusion and healing.
—from the book Stand Still: Finding Balance When the World Turns Upside Down,
by Terry Hershey, page 53