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(y)our greatest gift

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Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to the place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.  … And so we ignore our greatest gift, which is our ability to enter into solidarity with those who suffer.

source: Nouwen, H.J.M. (2003). The way of the heart. Ballentyne. image: soulterminal.com. 

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2 responses »

  1. When I am sitting silently listening to someone else’s grief or suffering… these words will come to mind and I will know that deep listening and being present is not only enough – it is the best think I can offer.

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  2. The act of compassion begins with full attention. You have to truely see the individual in order to suffer with them. It is human nature to try to avoid pain. Yet it is being attentive to the needs of another and in our ability to be utterly present with them in their suffering that we may do the greatest good.

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