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Fortunately I’ve always been an early riser. I never set an alarm in fact an alarm going off can leave me jangled all day. I love the early morning. Cool crisp air delights me an watching the sun rise over the mountains to the east of town while I’m on my morning run is exhilarating.

I relish the couple of hours before the household stirs, no interruptions except the dogs who think if I’m up it must be breakfast time. I sit here at my keyboard letting my mind run crazy over the events of the past day, my dreams, plans for the coming day, and prayers of gratitude for all the blessings in my life.

My mind goes to all of the challenges in the world today, hunger, loneliness, violence, financial crisis and the earth itself stretched and strained by all of our carelessness. If there is one thing I hope you, dear reader, take away from this post it’s the need for compassion…for ourselves, for others and for the earth.

Compassion and understanding for ourselves and others is the key to resolving all, yes I really said ALL, the problems we face today. Having compassion for the suffering earth, plants, animals and even the tiniest living thing would create a need in human beings to be good stewards as God called us to be. Understanding the needs of the world we live in would create better management, less suffering for all living things and a healthier environment.

Compassion and understanding for ourselves and others would bring about cooperation and peace. Many people who have worked with a variety of unsavory groups have come away with greater understanding and compassion. I don’t have to be best friends with these people or even like them very well but compassion is an entirely different matter that allows us to listen to them with our minds and hearts and enables us to communicate better and achieve a common goal.

A few years ago I volunteered to be a mentor for parents who were accused of abuse or neglect of their children. I spent many hours agonizing over the decision to do this kind of work. I had very little patience, understanding or compassion for anyone who would hurt a child or any weaker more vulnerable creature. I prayed about it and finally decided to fill the need for more mentors.

The first meeting was unnerving. I had been given the preliminary information, a single mom who has lost custody of her oldest child and had two others still in the home with her. The accusation was neglect. The oldest child was 3 and living with her paternal grandparents and the two in the home were 2 and 3months. The mom was 22, unemployed, with a high school education. I arrived at her home to meet with her for the first time about 3PM. It was a tiny apartment, two bedroom and about 800 SF. The kitchen and living area were one room about fifteen feet square. It was tidy, sparsely furnished and lacking cheer. The children were joyful in spite of the lack of “everything” in their lives. Rose told me the doctor had cautioned her about watering down the formula because the baby needed the nutrients and would fail to grow and thrive as she should. I reinforced this but she went on to tell me she didn’t know what else to do. She had so little, by the time she paid rent there wasn’t much left for food and now the landlord had failed to pay the utility bill and there was no heat.
Over time she opened up to me about her past, I had known the facts from her file before we started working together but not her point of view. She had been abused sexually by her father from the time she was ten and finally gave birth to his child when she was fifteen. Her parents adopted the baby boy and raised him as her little brother. She had four other sisters, two who were younger and she was afraid for them. When she met the father of her children she thought she had finally found someone to love her and take care of her. They had an on again off again relationship for about five years and now she had three little girls to raise and the oldest was placed with his parents by child protective services when she was accused of abuse.
Rose wanted to get a job and go to school and get her daughter back but I soon learned the system just wouldn’t cooperate. If she went back to school she would need child care and if she applied for child care assistance she would have her food stamp assistance reduced. When a person has nothing it is impossible for them to go to work or school without some initial increase in benefits and support. I went with her to all the social agencies to help her manage the system and to help with the logistics of getting there with two little girls under 3 years old. I soon realized how daunting and demoralizing the process is for those in need.

God’s first Revelation is Creation. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Christian, Jew or Muslim, our God is the same one, we are all children of Abraham. Later we get into God’s second revelation for Christians in the person of Jesus and the third revelation in the Bible. There are correlations for Jews and Muslims of these but the essential for all is creation including the earth, and all life on earth including human life plant life and all other creatures who are part of creation. We have a moral obligation to care for creation and all it’s components through compassion and understanding of each other’s needs.

We are all facing an important decision this fall when we go out to vote. Instead of making the self centered choice that may create more hardship and anger in others consider the greater good and be prepared for the surprise of your life. If we can pull off caring for ALL of creation in our decision making it will benefit ALL of us and over time bring about a more hospitable. generous environment.

I apologize for the appearance of part of this post, I had technical challenges with it and hope that doesn’t dissuade you from reading. I look forward to your comments and response….