Creating a World With Compassion

November 1 seemed an appropriate day to repost this blog I wrote in January of 2014

With tears in her eyes a friend approached me in the parking lot after mass. She was reaching out to comfort me and express her concern for our family celebrating our first Christmas without our dads. She knew that both my husband and I lost our fathers this last year. We moved into a conversation that caused her to ask “where has all the compassion gone in our world?”  When acts of violence and hatred seems to be on the news daily, I wanted to look further at the virtue of compassion.

Several years ago a very good friend of mine, at 20 weeks along in her first pregnancy was told by her doctor that her baby had a fatal chromosomal condition. Heartbreak doesn’t clearly express the impact that news had on my friend and her husband. After many consultations they were told with almost certainty the baby wouldn’t survive too full term and surely beyond birth. They were given the option to terminate the pregnancy. Through prayer they decided to carry the baby, as long as God would choose. On Thanksgiving Day that year, on her delivery date, she delivered a beautiful baby boy who was already resting in the arms of the Heavenly Father. Benedict’s funeral was emotional for all in attendance and yet the faith demonstrated by my friend, her spouse and both sets of grandparents was a testament to their faith. The priest who presided made the comment “some people live an entire life and never make an impact and yet this little boy wasn’t even able to live one day and his life touched the hearts of hundreds.” Over the years I have always wrestled with how to keep his memory alive. I wanted to honor his life, yet respect my girlfriend and her privacy and pain. Finally I opened the window with my friend and acknowledged the anniversary of his life and then I allowed her to take the lead. She shared that Benedict’s life deepened their roots in Christ and through their beliefs; they found true joy for the life they shared with this child for 9 short months. They also shared a heart of gratitude for all the people who recognize that little boy’s life as a gift, no matter how short. Benedict’s parents took comfort and reassurance in God’s plan through this passage.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD.

  Plans to prosper you, never to harm you;

plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

I think we can all relate to the uncertainty of what to say to a friend, when they have experienced loss or a disappointment. We have all known someone who has lost their job, lost a parent, had trouble with a teenager, stress in their marriage, a child is born with disability, a family member is suffering from addiction or depression, a new mother is wrestling with postpartum the list of life challenges is endless. Finding the right words to reach out to them or acknowledge them can be filled with uncertainty. Starting with thoughtful consideration of the circumstances, along with prayer may be a good start. I have always appreciated a hand written note, a hug and a friend who can lend a listening ear.

Shortly after my husband lost his father, we had attended a middle school basketball game.  We were surprised when an 8th grade boy, named Jack with no hesitation came directly up to my husband, extended his hand and said “Mr. O’Flaherty I am so sorry for your loss.” I looked over his shoulder to see his parents, who may have nudge him over to express compassion, yet his parents were no where to be found. Jack’s efforts were directed from his own heart. Jack’s ability to demonstrate compassion shows that he was taught and formed with compassion as a value. At 13 years-old he showed maturity of heart, he took a risk that was driven by concern for another person’s life circumstances over his own feelings.  I believe Pope Francis is encouraging us to extend the church from the circle of our family out into the world. Evangelization is spreading the gospel of Christ and that is best done through our loving actions. Simply following Jack’s example of extending compassion is a good start for all of us.

So to my dear friend in the parking lot, I am hopeful that compassion still exists in our world. The feast of the baptism of the Lord, reminds us of our own baptismal promises. We are called to actively engage in extending love and compassion to others. Taking a step to acknowledge another person’s pain can be risky,  It can absolutely be uncomfortable.  It requires extra effort to extended yourself for others.  Yet, I feel the benefit can transform our world.   

Here is Benedict a Thanksgiving gift to our world.

Benedict

Who would benefit from your compassion today?    When you step onto the train today or into the elevator or get cut off by another drive, however might a smile or kind word change their day?    Find a chance today to be good and kind.

XO Peggy

Leave a comment



Mb Langan

4 years ago

Beautiful Peggy! I did read your other blogs as well! They were inspiring, thought provoking and brought tears to my eyes. Again, you have definitely found your calling and are directing your talents in the right direction.
Thank you again for recognizing Jack’s compassion and ability to reach out to other people.
Marybeth

Creating Space, LLC.

4 years ago

Thank you MB for taking the time to comment. You sure build me up. Thanks for raising such a great family.

Deana

4 years ago

Thank you Peggy for reminding us of all of the Angels looking over us all in Heaven. And to Baby Benedict, we were truly blessed to have been a party of his life, his Mom and Dad. Thank you also for Blessing us with your Blogs. The last blogger was correct you have a gift. Keep up the wonderful work you were divinely destined to do! Love ya
Deana

Creating Space, LLC.

4 years ago

You were so kind to read and acknowledge this ministry. Praying for God’s direction and grace for you.

Cindy

4 years ago

Beautiful, very touching. What a heart of compassion you have! God bless baby Benedict.

Creating Space, LLC.

4 years ago

Thank you for keeping Benedict and his family in your prayers. I know they have appreciated it over the years.

Karen Crowe

4 years ago

Hi Peggy, This is so beautiful!! It definitely has that Catholic angle (as was your intention) but is also simply very strongly Christian, so pulls the reader in no matter what faith. It’s a message we all need to hear and is so well delivered! I love your examples of compassion: the realities we all have and/or run into with our friends and the need to be more brave about extending ourselves to comfort them, which can be done with a simple hug or handshake and a single sentence, as you wrote.

And your suggestion that as families we will transform the church… such a touching and empowering idea. I can’t imagine any kind of negative response to this blog, so you can put away that concern.

You have such a gift! I’m so thrilled that you discovered your place & platform to deliver your ideas to our community and beyond (using the digital world)! You are basically standing at a pulpit and inspiring so many.

Keep up the amazing work!! Karen

Creating Space, LLC.

4 years ago

Karen, thanks for taking the time to provide me such heartwarming feedback. Thanks.

JoAnn Herzberger

4 years ago

Loved this. Very thoughtfully worded and thought provoking too.

Creating Space, LLC.

4 years ago

You would be a great guest blogger as you fit perfectly into this idea of a blessed and holy family.

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4 years ago

I usually do not leave a response, but I read a few of the comments here Sunday Snippets,
Extending Compassion, Losing a Child & Evangelization
| Creating Space. I do have some questions for you if
you tend not to mind. Could it be simply me or does it give the impression like some of these remarks appear like they are left by
brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are posting at additional social sites, I’d like to follow everything new you have to post.
Would you post a list of every one of all your public sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

Creating Space, LLC.

4 years ago

Thank you for your comments, so you feedback ended up spam. I am on twitter @PeggyOFlaherty and via FB creatingspaceinyourlife Peggy

Vicki

4 years ago

This was beautifully written and really touched my heart! I do believe that the world does need more compassion.
BUT, I was taken back to see that you posted a picture of Baby Benedict. Pictures that are posted on social media should have permission from that individual before being posted. (I assume you did get permission from one of the parents)
I think you could have posted a much better picture to express the need of compassion in our world than a fetal demise.

Creating Space, LLC.

4 years ago

Thank you for reading and your feedback. My dear friend of 35 years loves this photo of her son. The parents wanted me to share it to the world, as this is the only photo they had. They wanted to remind all the doctors for months who suggested they terminate. I agree that Benedict is beautiful and a precious reminder if his amazing 9 months.

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4 years ago

I constantly emailed this blog post page to all my contacts, for the reason that if like to read it afterward my friends will too.

Creating Space, LLC.

4 years ago

That was so kind of you to email my blog page to others. Thanks. I will check out yours, as well.

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4 years ago

I have read so many articles on the topic of the blogger lovers
but this piece of writing is truly a good post, keep it up.

Creating Space, LLC.

4 years ago

Thank you so much for looking at my website. Sorry I don’t have any suggestions for widgets.

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