In my September blog, I used a line from Teresa of Avila which read:
“Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world”.
As I closed the blog, it felt incomplete – there was something missing that needed time and space to gestate. I let it go, knowing clarity would come.
With new dramas playing out daily on our media, I realized compassion fatigue was the missing piece. How do we keep being of service, whatever our religious tradition, without succumbing to compassion fatigue? We need to find a new way to serve!
Over these past weeks, I have bumped up against many of my own personal limitations which led to discernment about this ‘new way’:
- I needed to gather some data, but I am not a great detail person nor highly organized, so it wasn’t an easy task. I reached out to our accountant who had all the information I needed in 5 minutes and then graciously said, “Let me know if you need anything else”.
- Our Board of Directors needed information that I didn’t know how to creatively synthesize and present without overwhelming everyone. One of our Board Officers spent an hour reviewing all of the data with me, then she took the information home and created an exciting, strategic and future oriented presentation!
- And knowing my limited physical strength recently, I reached out to one of our Program Team members to ask if she could help prepare the space for a Saturday program. There was no hesitation in her voice as she responded “I would be happy to do that!”
What an amazing ‘new way’ to be in the world: to ask for what we need (not demand or manipulate)! If we could simply ask without expectations and let people respond freely, I think compassion fatigue would fade.
If we could risk being aware of our vulnerabilities and let others see them too, people who can support us become available. If we could respond specifically to one another’s needs without taking over their lives in ways they don’t want, an amazing relationship could develop. If only . . .
This new way is really about being in community.
There seems to be a three step process to this ‘new way’
- Know the why of what you want. What is behind what you want?
- Trust that you will be heard at the level each person is capable of listening to you in that moment. (Perhaps something stressful is happening in their life that you’re not aware of. They may not be able to hear about your needs right now.)
- Work together to resolve the gap.
If we could do this in our families, our businesses, our different relationships, this ‘new way’ would positively impact the world.
As we journey to November and the election of a new president, I invite you to be an instrument of grace. We belong to one another and as a community we have the ability to work together to resolve the radical differences between us this election has revealed. We are the body of Christ in our world and are invited to a ‘new way’ of living that out today.
Please join with us as we hold each other in prayer during these turbulent times.