Exercising Compassion

Circle of Hope compassion team at the 2016 Lupus Loop

One of our proverbs here at Circle of Hope is, “We hope compassion is among the first things people notice about us.”

Compassion is very deliberately baked into who we are as a community. It is part of our DNA as a body of Jesus followers. We have ensconced compassion into a place of highest importance in our long term goals.

So we’ve got compassion on lockdown, right?

Well, for me, it’s easier blogged about than done, and blogging is not easy for me.

Personally, I struggle with something as basic as what compassion means. Or more specifically, I feel compassion for others. Deeply. But then what? What if what I have to give isn’t enough? What if I make a mistake?

I spent a few hours last night contemplating just this. I prayed for wisdom on the matter before I plopped in bed. I thought about it while running during my lunch hour today. I googled it and found scads of interesting quotes on it. Here are just a few…

“I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness.” – Mother Teresa

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“Compassion is when someone needs your help and you help them.” – Pa Grape, Veggietales

“I still do intense interval training. I like miles and quarters best. In races I can set my mind, and I believe I could break 2:20 again.” – Catherine Ndereba, Kenyan marathon runner and Olympic medalist

That last one was about interval training. This is the practice of having an individual exercise near their limit for a short burst, then back away from their limit for an interval of rest, then exercise near their limit again, rinse and repeat. Sometimes that limit is sprinting a mile or a quarter mile, and sometimes that limit is jogging for 1 minute.

Often, with compassion, I feel the urge to sprint that mile, when I feel like I only have about a minute’s worth of jogging in me. At times, that disparity between what I want to do and what I can do is discouraging. But maybe what little I’ve got is just enough. Maybe someone needs a note of encouragement. Maybe someone needs a sympathetic person to listen to their story. Maybe someone just needs a drink of cold water.

That minute’s worth of jogging might be all I have in the tank most days, but I’ve got a great running club, and we’re going to keep training together until the lights go out. And with God’s grace, compassion will be among the first things people notice about us. Want to come out for a run with us?

Phil Walton, reporting

When Phil Walton isn’t writing blogs for the Compassion Core team, he can be found engineering software, playing games with family and friends, or engaging in his favorite hobby: home plumbing. Every second Saturday night, he hosts a game night at our space at 1125 S. Broad St. Occasionally, he also runs.

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