What Does It Mean to Be a People of . . . CAMPASSION?
In the month of June we are exploring what it means to be a people of compassion. Compassion means to suffer with. It is part of the human experience to feel pain when others are in pain. This is central to our theology as Unitarian Universalists. We are all connected, and therefore our fates are bound up with one another. We will explore the three-part experience of compassion: noticing another’s pain, feeling with another, and then responding. When is compassion hard for me? How does compassion call me to respond? Soul Matters describes what it means to be a people of compassion as the path of healing our pain by opening to the pain of others.
Reflections on Compassion:
Have compassion for everyone you meet, for you do not know what wars are going on down there, where the spirit meets the bone.
don’t you wish you were the sun and could wrap your arms around everyone
John Paul Lederach
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.
George Washington Carver
The path of healing our pain by opening to the pain of others.
During this time of Covid-19, suffering and struggle are ubiquitous. Whether it comes in the form of sickness and job loss or loneliness, stress and worry, suffering has taken up residence in so many of our homes. Compassion is needed now more than ever. And yet because of social isolation, it’s harder than ever for us to extend our kindness and care to those who need it.
Or is it?
There are always creative, irregular and even sneaky ways to offer our compassion to others, to let them know they are seen and not alone. You might even call it “guerilla compassion.” Imagine leaving an unexpected vase of flowers on a neighbor’s porch to brighten their day. Or stealthily going to the house of a neighbor who’s been sick and surprising them with a pre-dawn weeding of their flower bed. What about sending a random “You Rock!” note to your child’s teacher who is doing their best to learn new online ways of teaching for the sake of your kid and so many others? Are you a photographer? How about inviting folks on your block to step outside their front door for a family portrait with their home that has now become their entire world? (It might at least get people to shower and get out of their pajamas!) Or maybe it’s organizing a flash mob-like carpool that drives over and sings Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary or Happy Graduation to that person who’s been cheated out of a real celebration.
All of these things can be done while honoring social distancing. None of them require the removal of our masks. All it takes is some creativity and guerilla tactics.
So, what will your act of “guerilla compassion” be?
Taking It Home: Ideas for All Ages
Holding on to One Another: Compassionate “Touch”
A chain of paper dolls holding hands can be a nice way to let a friend know that even when it is not safe to touch hands in real life, we are still connected to them.
If you decide to send out letters or cards to neighbors and farther-away friends, these chains can be a fun addition to that mail!
Stories Used In Worship and Classes This Month
Soul Matters Spotify Music Playlists:
Discover musical inspiration on each of our themes through monthly playlists: https://www.soulmatterssharingcircle.com/spotify-lists.html