Compassion

by Jennifer Donovan

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.

A month ago I announced that I was excited to be a part of the Compassion International’s second bloggers’ trip. November 2 – 7, I will be blogging from the Dominican Republic.

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

Tim (and his son) from Challies.com
Marlboro Man and his two daughters from Pioneer Woman
Mary, of Owlhaven.
Melanie aka Big Mama

Brian Seay and Shaun Groves are the leaders of the trip on behalf of Compassion International.

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:



Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer Donovan

Jennifer Donovan has been a part of the 5 Minutes for Mom team since 2007. She writes product reviews, covers events, and manages the 5 Minutes for Books weekly column and website. She lives in Houston and blogs at Snapshot about life with her family.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dawn September 19, 2008 at 8:11 am

wow – how exciting and scary and humbling all at once. Can’t wait to see your posts!

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2 Maddy September 19, 2008 at 8:48 am

Sounds fabulous! I’ve not done anything pioneering myself but I have the joy of living vicariously through my daughter who has spent a year in China, months in Tibet and a year and a half in Mozambique. Her experiences of poverty, need and joyful community has been an inspiration to me and all my family.
Best wishes

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3 Jamie September 19, 2008 at 9:53 am

That’s so neat! My husband does some work with Compassion Intl. through an organization that he speaks for. Compassion is such a great organization that does amazing things in the lives of those kids. Very cool that you are a part of helping them!

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4 Carrie September 19, 2008 at 11:40 am

That will be an amazing life journey in so many ways. I will definitely be praying for you while you are gone and I look forward to what you will have to share upon your return!

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5 owlhaven September 19, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Looking forward to meeting you!!!

Mary

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6 RefreshMom September 20, 2008 at 2:58 am

I’m sure it will be an eye-opening, life changing trip for you. My couple of forays just across our southern border have done that for me–I was actually planning a post about that next week.

Can I just say one really shallow thing though? I think it’s totally cool that Marlboro Man and his daughters are going on the trip!

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7 Kari September 20, 2008 at 3:16 pm

WOW!!!! That is SOOO awesome, yay for you!!! :D I would love love to go but it’s just not possible for me right now. Cannot wait to read all that you will post! Yay for Compassion….we sponsor a little boy in Uganda BECAUSE of the last blogger trip to Uganda…let’s see what GOD will do through this next trip! :)

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8 Mayke Beckmann Briggs September 23, 2008 at 5:10 pm

There is compassion, and compassion in action. What you are doing is great! We have children in India, Nepal and Mexico that we are supporting and it has been so rewarding.

In addition, I often give my children’s book away to people like you. If you would like me to send you a few copies, just let me know. Remember you have to carry them, but I am happy to send you as many as you like. If you are going to a school, it is a good book for basic english with lots of repetition, and also a spiritual book for children who are suffering to find that place in their heart that is always whole and serene, no matter the circumstances. Even for non-readers, the book is full of colorful, uplifting images of nature (sun, moon, stars, clouds, flowers…little faces, etc.

I give the book away to hospitals, schools, libraries, children in general who are dealing with difficulties, and “compassionate missionaries” like you. It is fun for me, and so far Amazon is selling enough copies so that I can afford to do.

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