I have to admit that I’m a bit judgmental. I find that one way I’m able to vanquish some of those negative gut reactions is to understand the person. Understanding takes time and mental energy — compassion doesn’t come easily for most of us.
Until recently, when I saw an underweight, malnourished teenage girl obviously suffering from an eating disorder, I used feel a little bit sorry for her, but I mostly felt angry — at society for creating the situation where she could fall into this situation, at her parents and friends for letting it happen — and confused at why she would do that to herself.
But now I feel a heavy dose of sympathy, and a little bit of protective instinct takes over.
Why the change?
In the last couple of years, I made friends with someone who suffered with an eating disorder when she was a teenager. I know her. I love her. I respect her. In talking with her, I’ve come to understand a bit of why it happened to her, what she and her family did to try to treat it, and how it’s never really behind her.
I now have compassion, towards her and for others I meet with the same problem. The compassion was developed through experience and knowledge.
Because I’m not a pioneer (like many of you, I read the accounts of Sophie and Shannon and others on the first-ever bloggers’ trip to Uganda), I know that it won’t be easy. It won’t be easy to see what poverty is really like, and it won’t be easy to return home to my life of ease and financial prosperity.
Will you join me here that week? Will you open yourself up to be changed through the first-hand experiences of our team?
I can’t wait to see what God does through each one of us and for each one of us.
In addition to me, the 2008 Compassion Bloggers who are going to the Dominican Republic are
I hope that our experiences there will lead you to sponsor a child, or perhaps sponsor a second (or third?) child. Why wait until November? These children are waiting for sponsors right now: