Tag Archives: compassion

Because I Am That Person


Most of us have one…


“You showed up in a dream last night and I wanted to check in and see if everything is all right…”

“Are you nervous about this appointment?”

“Let me know when you get back home safely.”

“I’ll be here for you in the morning before they take you back for the procedure.”

In the past few weeks I have uttered all these phrases, some more than once, to various friends or family members.  I can’t seem to help myself.  I am That Person.

Everyone has That Person in their lives, the one who asks if you have a jacket because it’s supposed to turn cold later on, who holds your hand when you’re sick, who makes friends with your dog…and everyone else’s.  When you are experiencing heartache, challenges, a loss or a life change, That Person will gift you with marbles, to remind you that you haven’t lost yours.


That Person genuinely cares about you, your life, your family.  She (or he in some cases) has a true heart, one as strong and sweet as Southern iced tea.  And it brings great joy to That Person when he or she is able to offer you care and compassion.

Sometimes people don’t know what to do with her, or about her.  And that’s OK.  She doesn’t care for you in order to be cared for in return.  She does it because she doesn’t know any other way to be.

So, if you have That Person in your circle, accept the care she offers in the spirit in which it is intended.  Be honest with him when he asks how you are, because he really wants to know.  At some point you may end up becoming That Person for someone else.


The Places No One Sees


When brokenness is hidden…

For a couple of years now, a tiny, red glass Christmas ornament has been hanging in one of the spruces outside my immediate work area.  I’ve watched it for the longest time, as seasons have changed,  rain and snow have come, followed by warm sunshine and then summer storms and buffeting winds, all roiling around the tree and the little ornament.  I have always wondered who put it there, and marveled that no one ever removed it.

For a long time the little red ball was shiny and new-looking.  And even now, if I look at it from the right angle, it still shines and appears to be intact.  Beautiful and whole.


If I turn to the other side, however, the true state of the little red ball becomes obvious.  The shiny surface is showing signs of age and wear, and a huge piece of it is missing.  It’s broken.


A few months ago at church, it was the Sunday for healing rites, a time during the service when those who wish can have the pastor anoint them with balm and offer a prayer and blessing for healing.  I partake of this rite whenever I have the opportunity to do so. This particular Sunday it occurred to me that someone looking on might wonder why I would do this.  I am not obviously sick, disabled or visibly infirm.

The fact is, I am always in need of healing, of blessing.  Always in need of the loving touch of God’s hand.  Broken in places no one sees.

If we are honest with ourselves, most of us are broken in one way or another.  Some brokenness is obvious.  Drug problems, illnesses, disabilities that limit our quality of life are all around us, and often they are pretty easy to spot.  Other kinds of brokenness don’t show themselves so readily.  Often people appear to be perfectly fine, perfectly whole, on the outside.  But very few of us actually are whole.

If we take the time to look at each other from a different angle, we might detect brokenness…or we might not.  Most of us become experts at hiding it.  I certainly don’t want everybody knowing all about my broken places.  They make me vulnerable, and being vulnerable opens me up to the possibility of becoming still more broken.

There are broken people, walking wounded, everywhere I go.  I pray that my own brokenness makes me more sensitive to the broken places in other people…the places an x-ray can’t reveal.  The places no one sees.