Be Dangerously Compassionate

“I’d rather be loving than right.”

He said that to me almost ten years ago,
as we debated theology across the sticky coffee shop table.

“I’d rather be loving than right.”

There was no denying the cause and the effect of that sentence.

Like a nickle dropping into a jukebox,
just before the song comes.
Drop the cold, hard coin,
and the music flows.

Being right felt safe.
Buttoned up.
Self-Assured.

Loving, well, we all know love is a hot mess.

There was a song when I was younger, where the Christian Contemporary Artist warned us against being ”so open minded your brain popped out.”

That stopped me, for decades,
The silly line of a pop song.

Stopped me from being loving, because
I might love the wrong person in the wrong way.

My love might make their dysfunction last longer.
Might send the wrong message.
Might encourage the sin.

It was bullshit, that.

“I’d rather be loving than right.”

Maybe it’s a bad idea, to take advice from pop stars, given my previous experience. But now, when I hear another singer telling me he’s tried everything—every philosophy, every life approach—and he’s decided all that left is to be bold as love,
I give it a try.

I try to be bold in my loving,
to be generous with my approval,
to be, at my core, compassionate.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately,
about what it means to be compassionate—
to those who understand you (except when they don’t).
to the person who voted opposite of you.
to your own tender self.

Our world is more often about judgment than curiosity.
More about creating boundaries than studying inclusion.
More about self-criticism than self-love.

More and more, it seems to me that

Compassion is the art we most need to master,
and the skill we practice least.

Click to tweet the good word.

The tricky thing about compassion is that it’s a soft sounding word. All mmmm’s and ssss’s and that long, lingering hum of an ‘n’ at the end. But compassion, while gentle, is not tame. Compassion is dangerous.

Compassion opens up your heart to The Other.
Compassion asks you to forgive.
Compassion begs that you be kind.

Compassion is the fire that transforms.

I invite you today to be Dangerously Compassionate.

To stop in the middle of your annoyed huff, and be kind to the annoy-er instead.
To turn to your gremlin, and ask her to say that critical thing more nicely
To stand up for someone who is being overlooked.
To leave “right” sitting on the curbside and to hold hands with love instead.

My blessing for you today, my Magpie, is this:

May compassion begin its slow transformation within you,
May it paw at your heart, melting away the icy bits
clearing out the rubble.

May it breathe new warmth within you,
kindling a fire
that will beckon the hurting to come in, out of the cold.

And may you pass the flame along,
for another to hold in her hand,
until the warmth can travel all the way up,
and into her heart.

(Amen? Amen.)

***

More from the Suitcase Series:

I’m escaping to cabins to write a book called, Becoming Relig-ish, and I’m sharing previews with you along the way. I’d love your good advice. Do let me know what you think of the bits so far, and what you’d like to know more about. Thanks so much for being here today. -your magpie girl

Travel She Must
You Have Permission

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberley McGill November 10, 2012 at 10:40 am

Beautiful, Rachelle. I literally got goosebumps reading this.
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Bethany Bassett November 11, 2012 at 7:29 am

Is this going to be a part of your book? Oh, I hope so.
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Rachelle November 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Yes it is Bethany. Each chapter or section will start out with an inspirational charge like this, then have some further info on the topic, and some YBH (yes, but how!)

I see you are in Rome this week. Run your hands through a fountain for me!
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Angela Ekvall November 14, 2012 at 4:16 am

Rachelle, Amen! Amen sister. I love this post. What a beautiful message. You nailed the message here for me: “Our world is more often about judgment than curiosity. More about creating boundaries than studying inclusion. More about self-criticism than self-love. More and more, it seems to me that Compassion is the art we most need to master, and the skill we practice least.” “…But compassion, while gentle, is not tame. Compassion is dangerous.
Compassion opens up your heart to The Other. Compassion asks you to forgive. Compassion begs that you be kind. Compassion is the fire that transforms.”

and I can hear the love in your message. Truly lovely.

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Rachelle November 16, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Thank you so much Angela. It’s good to be with you on the compassionate bandwagon.
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Lisa notes November 16, 2012 at 1:50 am

Beautiful message, one that I continue to wrestle with because compassion can be painful. It costs a piece of our dirty selves that we need to clean up or throw away. But oh so worth it, both to those we show compassion to and to ourselves.

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Rachelle November 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I’m finding that why compassion can be painful, I usually appreciate the growth that comes after the painful bit. It does feel good to throw out the bad and strengthen the good, doesn’t it? And often, there’s no pain, just joy.
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