Looking beyond ourselves in compassion
There is a natural human inclination at various times in our life to move into times of introspection and periods of self-reflection. Socrates after all said, “an unexamined life is not worth living”, and while this is relevant for everyone it is particularly important for the follower of Christ and especially so for those involved in the healing ministry.
For those consumed with the mission to be made well again, it is very easy to become trapped by the inner pain and suffering that we are experiencing in the immediate present. This often comes at the cost of forgetting others close to us, who may also be in search of healing. There is a challenging call to each of us, to constantly broaden our horizon even in the midst of our own suffering. The wider world is full of conflict, and we shouldn’t let our own pain, or our own search for inner meaning cause us to forget to look outside our immediate circle with compassion and love. Sometimes it is not even enough to remind ourselves to remember “the least of these”, instead as a spiritual practice we should be willing to look beyond the circle that so often confines our horizons and what we believe is possible.
Over a lifetime each person will experience loss, rejection and betrayal to some degree. We lose a loved one, our physical or mental capacities seem to decrease, or a previously good friend may betray a deep confidence. The actual process of living life challenges us deeply, and can make it difficult to keep our heart open and alive to Christ. Our daily living tests us to keep our hearts open and trusting.
The greatest gift we can pray for is compassion. At the centre of our being lies the light of love. Our journey to that love involves accepting our humanity and forgiving ourselves for all that we are and have done. Only then a glimpse of wholeness, a glimpse of who are meant to be is in reach.
Rev Bruce Hayes is CMH:I Board member