Thursday, June 3, 2010

Compassionate Comrades & Hot Cocoa

The setting:  The Dining Hall at Camp Bighorn in Western Montana. Rich and I were there for a week last month doing coaching and consulting with the staff.  About twenty of us were sitting in a circle one morning having a devotional on the topic of compassion.

In the midst of the discussion I leaned over to pick up the mug of hot chocolate sitting to the right of my feet and as I raised up with the mug in hand (held by the top of the mug, not the handle...big mistake!) I accidentally hit the silver rim of my chair.  The impact made me drop the mug to the floor. In the hundredths of a second that followed, I watched sugary hot cocoa spill out into the middle of the circle all over the hardwood floor. UGGGG.  That 8 or so ounces of liquid seemed to expand endlessly before the twenty sets of eyes that were on me and the mess.

What followed was a demonstration of compassion.  My husband, Rich, immediately got up to help me clean up followed by two others, Josh and Trina, who went to the nearby kitchen to get rags, and promptly began to wipe up the mess by hand.  Josh did most of the work and as I humbly worked alongside him watching his wide sweeps with a rag through the liquid chocolate puddle, I was so grateful for their compassion on me.  They didn't just feel compassion, but demonstrated it. 

I had been thinking, just prior to that incident, that it can be hard for us to be compassionate towards someone unless we've been in a place of needing it ourselves. 

Showing compassion toward another may not come easily for you if you haven't ever been in a place of want.  In Matthew 9 Jesus looked at the crowd of people and felt compassion for their current state in life. This was the focus of our devotional and I got to be the recipient of a living example of compassion that morning.  Sometimes good lessons are learned in the unsuspecting moments of life.

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