I Was a Stranger

I’ve really been through a lot in my life. I don’t need to go into the boring details right now, but we’ve all been through a lot… right!? People have loved us and people have hated us. Perhaps not everyone can say, “People have hated me”, but I can. It’s just one of those things. It’s not okay, but it’s indicative of the world we live in. It really is. Hate is not spiritual at any level. Ever heard the expression, “Love your enemies?” (Matthew 5:44) Yeah, that’s a real thing, not just some Old Testament law. Try this. Close your eyes and visualize your enemies as the children they once were. If you did what I asked, you just felt it.

I’m a firm believer that we aren’t all given the same chance at life. I’ve had debates with plenty of folks who disagree, but no one has changed my mind. The kid that grows up in poverty, fatherless, motherless (sometimes), raised/used by drug dealers, until there is no escape. If you think that kid had the same chance that I had with my parents coddling me, while I played my NES and got support from family and friends, and everything paid for, and an education paved for me, then I’ll agree to disagree with you.

See, now I’ve gotten off track on this blog post, which… I really don’t know where I was going anyway… oh yes, I was talking about people loving us and people hating us. That’s right.

Anyway, my point with that second paragraph was just to say that, it’s true that we don’t know what people are up against. We don’t know where they’ve been. We don’t know if they are a “product of the system”. We don’t know if they were abused in the hundreds, if not thousands, of ways people can be abused. We don’t know what losses they’ve suffered. We don’t know what medical conditions they face. We just don’t know. None of us do, and that’s a two way street!

On top of that we are all different. Some of us are very different! It’s not a competition though. It’s totally fine that we are different. What’s normal to one person is bizarre to another. I totally get that and the fact that I get that: 1) Doesn’t stop me from trying to connect with people; and 2) Helps me be more compassionate to people because I understand we are all different. Compassion… IS… SO… IMPORTANT, but we aren’t good at it. Humans aren’t good at it. I am not good at it, but I want to be good at it so badly. Those things I mentioned in the previous paragraph, those things that we don’t know, they are compassion killers, not only for the person who went through those things, but for the person interacting with the person who went through those things. That is the natural human tendency.

I believe compassion always wins, and I’m not talking about the other person, I’m talking about me. I’m talking about us. We have to be compassionate. If you wait for someone else to be compassionate, it will be too late. That’s not how it works. Compassion is selfless, too. There can be no motive. It’s a reflection of your heart. Gosh, I just clinch my fists so hard when I think about this! I bite my bottom lip! I hate myself when I’m not compassionate. I hate when I get so caught up in healing or wallowing in pain or having to defend and protect myself that I lose my compassion. It makes me nauseated (as it should).

People have loved me so hard the past few years. OH MY GOODNESS! Strangers even. Holes in my heart have literally began to be filled. I don’t even know what else I could say about it. They’ve motivated me to be more compassionate.

That’s really all I wanted to say with this extra mushy blog post. I just wanted to say that people have shown me so much compassion lately, so much love. They knew I was hurting. The reason why doesn’t matter at all, not one bit. It really doesn’t. Pain is pain. I’ve written plenty about that. This post is about compassion. I’m so thankful for receiving it that I really want to just give it, all the time. It’s an internal thing. It’s me versus me. That’s the challenge. In your life, is it you versus you? The answer is probably, “yes”, but compassion is your way out.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. (Matthew 25:35-36)