*NOTE: The following is a message I wrote back in June, for a police agency I work with as their chaplain. I believe these words are needed as much now, as they were four months ago. Maybe we need them even more today. Thanks you taking time to read this simple message, and if you can, please take some time to ponder it, exploring how pursuing compassion in your life, could make life better for all of us. With Care, Pastor Dan.
I’m a words guy. I try and choose my words carefully and wisely. For those of you who have had the opportunity to converse with me, you’ll probably note that careful and wise are not the words that you’d immediately use to describe our conversation. But when I write, I have the opportunity to edit.. edit… edit… until, hopefully, a little care and wisdom is revealed in my words.
So I start my short message with the definition of my Just One Word:
“A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” And my personal short version: “To care deeply about those who are suffering, and to take action to help heal that suffering.”
And the word… Compassion.
Now if you’re looking for the one word that is the foundation for most faith traditions, the word is love. But love is often a very complex word, a word with a variety of definitions. However I prefer the word compassion. It is a word that is solid, clear and practical. I also believe it is a healing word. And right now, I believe our law enforcement profession is suffering and in need of some healing.
I don’t need to go into detail of why we are suffering. Everyone is well aware of the horrible death that occurred… the chaos that ensued shortly after… and the universal character critiques of our profession that followed. I know that I’m suffering, as well as many, if not all, of those in our profession. And in my humble opinion, my prayer is that if we all, and I mean all of humanity, spent some time deliberately and intentionally, trying to live lives of compassion in all that we do… it would be a good start to a healing process. And as we practice compassion (giving and receiving it) with those around us at work and in our communities, don’t forget to include those who are closest to us. Don’t forget to include our families… and yes, I know it’s not what we like to do… but don’t forget to show some compassion for yourselves.
With Care, Chaplain Dan