True Compassion Is Love In Action


Yesterday was a day filled with meetings. Invariably, in the midst of the process, I found myself volunteering to provide six sessions of staff training, evaluate the need for handbook revisions and craft a detailed response to proposed Federal legislation that has the potential to negatively impact agencies like the one where I work. The only problem is my plate was already full. Where was I going to find the time?


I took precious time out of my day to attend meetings oblivious to the fact that in short order my “to do list” would increase. I was already feeling a little overwhelmed with the thought of all that I needed to get done and that was before adding to the list.


At some point in the midst of the afternoon, I had a flashback to a period of time when I worked for the State of Texas. When I first transferred to State Office in Residential Child Care Licensing, I had responsibilities to write licensing standards based on recommendations from the State Advisory Committee For Child Care Licensing. In addition, I drafted the policies and procedures for the residential child care licensing section. I actually stayed in that role for about eight years before moving over to staff supervision.


The experience served me well. In the two agencies where I’ve worked since leaving State employment twenty-seven years ago, I have been identified as the go-to-guy to write policies and procedures. Truthfully, crafting my blog each day has been a lot more enjoyable than writing standards, but at least everything I wrote back then got published in the Texas Register. Of course, the Texas Register makes for some pretty dull reading.


Yesterday, when I found myself wondering when I was going to get it all done, the flashback to those experiences year’s earlier served as a catalyst to renew my spirits. I did it then, I can do it now. How’s that for the power of positive thinking?


It was after 7:00 p.m. when I got to Henly last night. Truthfully, I was exhausted and eager to get home. Perhaps it was out of a sense of obligation, but instead of going home, I headed to the church. Vacation Bible School had started well over an hour before. Even though I have no official role in VBS, I thought it was important spend the last hour of the evening with them. Besides that, what better way to get energized than by watching kids have fun?


Not only did I watch kids, I also watched the host of volunteers who’ve made this week a meaningful an enjoyable experience for the children. Ours is not a sleepy little country church on the periphery of civilization. It is a dynamic forward thinking family of faith that understand the importance of investing in the lives of children.


The subsequent hour and a half I shared interacting and visiting with that group provided me a sense of calm and refreshed my spirit. The place was not only packed with kids, but it was packed with adults who understand the importance of making a difference. Whether they were providing snacks, crafts, lessons, leadership, or some other level of support, the focus was the same. It was about communicating the love of God and unconditional support for them.

The subsequent parking lot conversation I shared with a friend named Tom was time well spent. There are some people you meet and intuitively feel like you’ve known them forever. Tom is that kind of guy for me. He is a former pastor and hospital chaplain and his middle name has to be compassion.


He is always upbeat, positive, affirming and looking for the best and God’s love in the midst of any kind of circumstance. There is something so amazingly refreshing about folks whose first priority is always to help.


I mentioned to Tom that when I find myself complaining about the religious right out of a sense that at times they are neither, I find that I’ve become one of them. It is a personality trait or evidence of brokenness that I detest about myself.


Another friend mentioned earlier in the day that we often operate in two extremes dealing with the same issue. We are at times like the Good Samaritan and conversely at other times like the Pharisees wanting the stone the woman caught in adultery. Thoughtfully he affirmed that we only reflect the love of Christ in one of those venues.


Tom is the kind of friend who is consistently focuses on only one aspect of his Christian pilgrimage. He is focused on the Good Samaritan aspect of his journey. I find it refreshing to share time with him. Positive people who view the world with a sense of hopefulness through that which God can orchestrate help carve out a path that is refreshing and clear.


I went to bed last night with the thought that things couldn’t be better. I’ll get to the backlog of things needing to be done, but I’ll not drown is a sea of despair related to unfinished business. On a broader scale, the unfinished business for many that diminishes who we are and whose we are is our contentment to throw stones rather than demonstrate love.  Love is a verb.  It is not a feeling.


All My Best!



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