The month of December has flown by, and not everything about it has been a bundle of joy. After holding and comforting a very sick Brooks the entire week after Thanksgiving, by Friday afternoon the 2nd, I had the same thing. I’d imagined my immunities much stronger by now than they apparently are. Experiencing what he was going through definitely increased my empathy for the little guy, although I hope I have always been a compassionate caregiver.
Then he had a few truly scary allergic reactions, ending up in the ER twice in eight days. Here he is the second time, after treatment had reduced his reaction to just an adorable Rudolph nose.
He now has to have an EpiPen handy at all times and is confirmed allergic to casein, so ALL milk products; maybe eggs, to be confirmed or disproved soon; and weirdly, blueberries, which he had eaten with no issues for weeks, if not months. As someone who cannot imagine life without butter or cheese or old-school ice cream, I’m hoping he grows out of these allergies, but he’s his usual cheerful self, especially when he’s not tormented by hives and eczema and other random rashes.
I’d like to think it would be the rare person who would not be touched by the suffering of a little one, but I’m being stretched to think of many others these days, as well. Tomorrow David will have been gone five years, and I have not forgotten the agony of those early days without him.
I have three close friends spending their first Christmas without their beloved and one family without their beloved adult son/brother. A few others without one of their parents this Christmas for the first time. Others facing scary, challenging medical diagnoses. And this is just within my circle of acquaintance.
I watched a movie recently, The Swimmers, chosen because I love stories of underdogs succeeding against all odds, but I had no idea what it would do to me. This depiction of the plight of immigrants wrecked me. I know the numbers are overwhelming and the solutions are complex, but I had allowed that to numb me into mostly putting it out of my mind. I no longer can.
I’m increasingly convinced this month that the gift God is trying to give me this Christmas is compassion on a whole new level. I’m certainly feeling a lot of empathy. My heart has been breaking this month more than usual–in a good way, if that makes sense. But compassion requires action, not just feelings. So here’s hoping I (and all of us) can put hands and feet to work for the good of others. To continue to feel and express gratitude for beauty, like this Christmas sunrise. . .
. . . while also living in such a way as to teach our little ones . . .
. . . to be mindful of others, to both feel empathy and live compassion.
Grace and peace to you!