There were two friends in my life once that had kind of a destructive relationship. They were named Envy and Compassion. One was a good friend, genuine and real and precious but the other was one of those friends that drags you down way more than lifts you up. You know what I mean? Unfortunately, we sometimes have those relationships in our lives. Envy is this "friend." Envy loves to put burdens on me, plants little lies in my brain and overall just puts me in a cranky mood.
Compassion, however, is a real friend. But, because I am human and mess things up... a lot...Compassion is that friend that I take for granted. I know Compassion is good and healthy and is a friend I should pursue, but so often I avoid Compassion because I'm already so involved with Envy that I just feel guilty whenever Compassion taps me on the shoulder. Does that even make sense? Maybe I'll stop trying to be all cool-bloggery and just write what I'm feeling.
I want to say that I'm a compassionate person, that my heart goes out to friends and family and that I am selfless. But it's not really true most of the time. So often I am crippled by envy and selfishness. I have realized lately that being jealous of someone else buildes this wall--starts out as just a little speedbump, a little ledge but then gets bigger and bigger until I find myself actually resenting someone for absolutely nothing and in that not being a good friend to them.
This is awful to admit to myself and even more awful to blog about, putting it out there for people to read. But church this morning was very inspiring and just...amazing...and I think, I don't want to be filtered on this blog. I don't want to have this blog only portray the good parts of myself. You know?
When I went to Peru in 2009, we had to read this book called 'Compassion.' Honestly, I can't remember most of it because that was two years ago, but I DO remember how convicting and amazing it was. How this lack of compassion in my life is the reason why it's so easy for me to fall into being all about ME ME ME. Sometimes it is so hard to care about the world, about serious issues out there because I am so crippled by MYSELF.
I had this experience lately with someone who is very dear to my heart. I love this person so much, but for so much of my life I have struggled with an intense amount of jealousy toward them. It's that kind of jealousy that is really toxic....You ever feel that before? It's like when you finally feel super good about yourself, are confident, and then this person shows up and womp womp woooomp. You completely deflate. You feel thirty pounds heavier. You feel stupid, silly, in their shadow.
Isn't that awful? Ridiculous? And SO not from the Lord? Anyway, this is what I was going through with this person a lot. And then recently, this person was going through a very, very difficult time in their life. Really, really needed me. And I wasn't a very good friend to them, not that I was mean or anything, but I wasn't picking up the signs and hints that this person really needed me. And because I was so busy being jealous over them, I neglected to have compassion for them and I really missed my chance at loving them and supporting them. And let me tell you, it was awful. I have never felt that sad in my life but I also needed to realize here was my chance to turn it around! To not wallow away in sadness, but to face it, realize I screwed up and CHANGE IT. Take action. Literally, pray to God to give me compassion and be there for them.
It is a journey and a process. I will always work toward having compassion in my life. I think it is healthy to look at yourself and realize your flaws, but to also not let that trip you up. You need to understand something needs to change, pray, and let it CHANGE. You know? Because when I find myself sitting in that rut of guilt, nothing happens. I just throw myself a pity party. Yuck. That's lame.
I love Henri Nouwen. Here is one of my favorite quotes by him from one of my favorite books:
|favorite picture from the wedding. beautiful.|
|he captures NYC beautifully too. makes me miss living there!!!|
|maybe one day i'll go back, but for now the west is calling my name.|
all photos-- Josh Goleman