A Few Words from your H.C.T. (Quinn Rose, Bev Ross, & Debra Valpey)
Your Healthy Congregation Team (H.C.T.) stands with you during these difficult times as you navigate our new normal. This month we bring you some thoughts on Soul Matters’ theme of compassion.
Compassion means to be with (com) another’s suffering (passio). It is not neat, tidy, or conveniently nice. It is a relationship between equals and, as such, It goes much deeper than sympathy or even empathy, although those may be starting points. When we share another’s pain, we become uncomfortable ourselves and are driven to action. The truest test of real compassion may be justice, first for ourselves, then for those we care about, and ultimately for the world and for our environment.
So, let’s start with ourselves. Try making a list of all that you do (for yourself and others) and all that you are responsible for. Include everything! Even that which brings you pleasure. Then, forgive yourself for any perceived shortcomings. As the psychoanalyst Carl Rogers once said “the curious paradox is that that when I accept myself as I am, then I can change.” Then, practice appreciation for yourself and your amazing life.
Next, observe the pain that others face, rather than shying away from it or pretending that you do not notice, thereby holding onto “niceness.” Next, hold another’s pain, and see what it calls you to do. See how it changes you once you truly understand what burdens others carry. Finally, explore ways that you might take action so that others need not carry quite so many heavy burdens. Think justice at this point.
And, while you are at it, you just might want to practice some “Guerilla Compassion” while social distancing: you might leave flowers on a neighbor’s porch, weed their garden when they are ill, or even send anonymous empowering messages such as “you are a hero to me,” or “you help me smile through my isolation.”
If you are experiencing church related conflict, do not hesitate to call of one of us (Bev, Debra, or Quinn). If you are experiencing personal conflict, know that a lay minister is nearby to listen (Lynn Crow, Toska Rodriquez, Debra Valpey, and Mike Yanega)
~Debra Valpey, for the Healthy Congregation Team.