Compassion 

— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —

Last week I finally called a dear friend whom I had wanted to contact for a long time. She is not well, I knew that. 

I hadn’t heard from her in a while. My everyday life was so busy these weeks and I was so scheduled that I often didn’t have the strength to pick up the phone in the evening and ask her how she was doing. She is a precious person to me. It touches me immensely that she has to go through enormous hardship. I wanted to have the energy to be there for her when I called her or went to see her.  And so I didn’t get in touch, thought a lot about her, prayed for her, but: didn’t get in touch. 

Then a few days ago, with everything I was doing, she was constantly on my mind. In every meeting, lunch with colleagues, when writing the lecture, for the next day. That evening, I called her. My worry that she would reproach me was great. So was my guilty conscience. I knew I would want to apologise and explain. I dialed her number, maybe she wouldn’t pick up. 

She did pick up  and from her first sentences and the tone of her voice I knew this conversation would be different than I feared.  She had also thought about me that day and was considering contacting me. All the resentment that I (understandably) expected was absent. She was kind and responsive, full of goodness that I became more and more grateful with each passing minute of the conversation. Compassion and grace were what I experienced. A great openness in sharing and a deep generosity. This kindness continues to accompany me even now. I am so happy that I was able to receive it. Again and again I am reminded of that grace. I am very sure that it is God’s compassion that I was able to experience through her. 

I don’t know how you feel about receiving compassion and being compassionate. Maybe you also want to give more space to it? If so, I invite you to practice a meditation by Sharon Salzberg, with me: 

Find a comfortable posture and introduce yourself to people you love, then friends, next people who are neither particularly close to you nor difficult for you, and then, if you are willing, people you struggle with, find difficult to deal with. Then take a few moments for the following reflection: 

  • This person has a body and mind – just like me. 
  • This person has sensations, feelings and thoughts – just like me. 
  • This person has been sad, disappointed, angry, hurt or confused at certain times in his or her life – just like me. 
  • This person has experienced physical and emotional pain and suffering in his or her life – just like me. This person wishes to be free from pain and suffering – just like me. 
  • This person desires to be healthy and loved and to have fulfilling relationships – just like me. 
  • This person is loved and wanted by God – just like me. 

Allow the emergence of benevolent prayers: 

  • God, grant this person, the strength, resources, emotional and social support to deal with the difficulties in life. 
  • God, grant this person to be free from pain and suffering. 
  • God, grant this person well-being, security, health, freedom.  For he/she is a human being, just like me. 
  • God, let this person experience your blessings.  

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Phil. 4:7

Amen. 


The ACF Midweek Meditations
are written by a diverse group of our church members with the intention to seek God’s fingerprints in our lives. They range from somber to humorous and are inspired by all facets of live and faith. Written by ordinary people from all walks of life, they reflect a wide range of Christian backgrounds and spiritualities.

Each week’s text portrays the individual viewpoint of its author. They might not always resonate with everyone, and are not meant to be understood as representing the Anglican Church Freiburg as a whole. Yet, as a church that is aiming to ‘Build a Community of Grace’ we seek to practice learning from and listening to one another.

We pray that these humble ponderings add a small spark of blessing to your week.


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