Naturally Compassionate


On outreach, I saw something that has stuck with me for more than a week now. I watched a volunteer simply sit with a street-dependent client. The client was in bad shape, suffering from substance abuse, exposure to the heat, as well as having recently been mugged and beaten. The volunteer offered no assistance and no conversation. The volunteer just sat with the client, side by side, on the sidewalk in silence. 

What strength it takes to not try to fix something! To simply enter compassionately into the space of someone hurting and be with them. To offer your presence as a gift. What wisdom to realize that the gift of yourself can be prized and even healing. What courage it takes to face that silence.

The volunteer wasn't asked to do this. He wasn't told it was an option–in fact, he was told that we shouldn't sit on the sidewalk because it's illegal to do so in downtown Austin. He wasn't told a case history of the client or how to do what he did safely. It was all natural for him.

The most surprising thing, is that this volunteer is a young boy! When do we stop being so naturally compassionate? When do we stop being willing to take risks to comfort another? When do we stop believing that we can help?

Lord, give us all the strength, wisdom, and courage to love others without reserve.

— Terry

"To know, love and serve street dependent youth."
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