This morning at 11am, I will preach the funeral for my Aunt Judy. This will be the 5th funeral I’ve preached on my side of the family in 5 years… plus 2 on Emily’s side of the family… plus 2 of my greatest all time friends… 9 funerals attended and preached for 9 of the greatest people in my life, in 5 years time!
My Aunt Judy was one of the most humble individuals I’ve ever known. She loved much more than she hated… she didn’t hold grudges—she was very fast to forgive. When she was wronged, she never made a big deal about it. When she was neglected, she never complained. She never bragged, never demonstrated pride in anything, except in her son-Teddy. My Aunt Judy suffered at the highest level, physically and emotionally for the last few decades.
I have regrets.
If I could go back in time, I would be a much better nephew to my Aunt Judy. Whenever I asked how she was doing, I would actually care about her responses (with real compassion)… even to the point of crying with her and holding her until she was cured with my LOVE.
But I didn’t really do that. Instead, of looking into her eyes and deep into her troubled soul… I became numb to her groaning. I felt like she could just shrug it off if she really wanted to.
Sometimes, suffering people unknowingly barricade themselves from everyone else. Most humans can’t handle other people’s sufferings. Maybe it’s because we have our own lives and our own trials… and we lack the capacity to shoulder pain for anyone else.
To protect ourselves, we choose the company of “whole” people over “broken” ones.
- Healthy people over sick ones.
- Happy people over the sad ones.
- Laughing people over crying ones.
- Popular people over the unpopular ones.
- Rich people over poor ones.
- Sadly, the person who needs the most attention usually receives the least amount of attention. (From my book)
I have regrets.
I was not there for my Aunt Judy like I could have been.
Her sudden and unexpected death is a HUGE REALITY CHECK for me.
It is like I was sleeping and oblivious to anything happening around me… and my eyes have been opened.
In my mind, I travel back to all of the family gatherings when Aunt Judy would show up and I would ask her how she was doing, semi-caring but not really wanting to hear about her struggles… and even though I loved her so much, I sometimes acted like an elitist, a snob… never on purpose… I was self absorbed and blind.
Someone may protest my transparency here. You may try to console me by saying, “Chuck, don’t be so hard on yourself… I’m sure you were a good nephew.” You’re right, I was a GOOD nephew, but I could have been a GREAT one.
This blog is not about beating myself up for the things I should have done. It is an opportunity for change!
Sometimes, people get mad at suffering people… we don’t understand what someone is going through. We assume they can just “snap out of it” if they would just be strong. We lack compassion, sympathy, and empathy…
- Compassion, is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
Jesus told The Parable of the Good Samaritan…
Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.'” (Luke 10:30-35)
Most people, look the other way, not to be inconvenienced with suffering people. Jesus wants us to become like the Good Samaritan in this story. He wants us to feel deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
Compassion: it’s one of the highest purposes of life!
Compassion is the key to having less regrets.
My advice for you today is this: Look for an opportunity to love someone in a deeper way today. Search for the person in your circle with the deepest pain. Do something (little or big) to alleviate their sufferings. Lend your ear. Give a smile and a hug and a prayer.
I hope this message inspires you like its inspired me.
With much love…
Dream Big, Live Bold, and Make A Difference!