My daughter Jessica had a problem with compassion. She just didn't have it. So, once a month, we would buy, cook and serve dinner at the homeless shelter in Wichita Falls -- a meal for about seventy people. The service and experience touched her and taught her the compassion we weren't able to convey by just hoping and talking. Doing was what she needed.
At this time of year I think of her. Especially as I read about all the people who go out to homeless shelters once a year (on either Thanksgiving or Christmas), listen to cynics ask "don't the homeless need to eat during the rest of the year?" and miss her, I think of her.
Our hearts couldn't take returning to the shelter without her after she died, though our congregation took over. Thinking about the experience again, I remembered the importance of finding things to do with children -- and with adults -- to teach them when other methods fail. Sometimes talking is just not enough, though many things we do communicate better if we explain or label them.
We continue to do things with our children, and to explain the things we are doing, but my heart still remembers, especially this time of year. It is, after all, a season of hope and of the heart.
I was visiting at Wolf Angel again. I always have liked the blog's name. For some reason I can't get the comments to display. I've been thinking and reflecting a great deal. I'll post as I have concrete things to say, but there is more to say on many things, including more on the difference between spiritual, religious and social issues.
The differences are often important in churches from a conflict resolution viewpoint and in health care from a patient and family care perspective.
May this season nourish you in all areas, and may the differences in it give you joy and delight.