Be Compassion

ImageI’d seen her there once before standing in the parking lot holding a bundle in a blanket looking a little out of place. I kept driving telling myself she was waiting for a ride but I suspected I was wrong. A few days later my suspicions were proven—she was laying on the sidewalk. I wondered where the child was that I’d thought I’d seen before. I pulled into the park to do my Bible study as well as some reading for a book I’m writing. Before I did I made a call to someone to get some help for the woman.

I finish my Bible study and pick up my notes on compassion. Then she walked by with her shopping cart. I felt God tell me I should be compassion, not just study it. Yes, I heard, “Be compassion.” And I waited. Certainly there’d be more direction than that, maybe some reassurance. After all, if I was going to approach a stranger, I’d need a boost. Nothing. I texted a friend that I was getting out of my car to go “be compassion” and needed prayer.

By the time I caught up with her, after going back to my car to change my glasses, she was in the bathroom. She was talking to herself in the stall. I went outside and sat by the waterfall and talked to God. Maybe I heard Him wrong. There was another group of individuals at the park who could use some compassion. Surely God didn’t mean for me to talk to the woman who was rambling on to herself.

The brook babbled but neither confirmed or denied that I was supposed to “be compassion” to the woman in the restroom. I waited. I waved and extended a friendly greeting to the young disabled man walking with his job coach. I moved closer to the group of mentally disabled people. The disabled outnumbered the job coaches so I figured if anything came up, I could help. I’m trained in this kind of work. I’m not trained to talk to homeless women who talk to themselves.

She finally came out of the restroom and went over to the tree where she’d left her cart. I realize the bundle is not a child, but a  bed roll. She sets it up and lays down. I sit magnetized to the metal park bench. I finally get up and walk, but not towards her. My fear sends me to the other side of the park. I come back and sit near her. I call my husband and he encourages me to just go over and talk to her. The magnets are strong. While I sit there, she gets up and just starts yelling at a man on a cell phone. I freak out and leave the park.

ImageI spend the rest of the day and the next couple of days feeling like a goat named Jonah. I didn’t reach out to the least of these and I ran from what God told me to do. Yesterday our pastor talked about Peter denying Christ before the rooster crows. I remember hearing a rooster that day in the park. I remember it because of its pathetic sound. God was so disappointed in me, He didn’t even send a nice sounding rooster.

I don’t want to hear that pathetic rooster again but, to be honest, I don’t know if I can go up and “be compassion” to a stranger. I have a hard enough time dealing with people I know.

(pictures from Wikipedia)

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