Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Compassion, Gratitude, Faith and Love

These are the four things T prescribed for my ailing heart last week. I'd been feeling blue for the past two weeks and hadn't talked to her in three.

"Compassion is sympathy coupled with action." I read this on a train poster almost a decade ago and I still remember it. I feel so much for so many that it often leaves me immobile. Although my heart is in the right place, it takes a while for my hands to come into action. I'm a thinker, an analyzer and much less a compulsive doer. I need to figure out less and take action more.

Gratitude. Giving thanks for the good in your life. I know I'm not alone when I say I focus on the parts of my life that need improvement rather than the positive things. I'm pessimistic by nature: quietly hoping for the best, fully expecting the worst and then shocked when the best actually pulls through. I've let the negative overshadow the positive and it's been a struggle to let the sun shine in. The forecast seems to be forever cloudy with a chance of blah.

Of the four remedies, faith is the one I crave most. The blind trust that things will work out as they're meant to be. I need and want to believe there's a being so much more powerful than me watching over my every stumble, success, heartache and joy. I don't want to carry this weight anymore, but I have a hard time believing in what I cannot see or control. I want to trust more and question less.

On Sunday, I went to church for the first time in a long while. I've never been the religious type, always questioning everything the Bible proclaims. But Sunday's sermon struck a chord: we need others to multiply our joys and minimize our sorrows because we cannot do this for ourselves. Meanwhile, I'd been busy doing the exact opposite by shutting everyone out and myself in.

So why didn't I automatically choose love as my preferred prescription? Because it's hard to love others when you don't fully love yourself. Clich├ęd yet true and it's on the needs improvement list. In the meantime, I know my cup runneth over with love. Even when everything in front of me seems gray, I know it's there coloring the background. I have love from my family, love from my friends. I even have love from strangers who wish me well from miles away.

No, love I have plenty. It's faith I need to remind me this is all for a reason and that someday the stars will align just for me.

Image: My own


  1. Faith is the hardest thing to have. It's believing in things that you can't see.

    It's hard specially when there are things in your life telling you that what you want to happen wont happen. But at the end of the day, faith is the only thing that keeps you going. Hoping that tomorrow will be better than today, hoping that someday you'll really be happy with what you find.

    I think hope and faith go hand in hand. You hope that you'll be happy and at the same time you have faith that sooner or later happiness will come.

    No one said its easy, but really, the good things in life never are.

  2. I think it is a great prescription...all 4...it took me a long time...and the C word to get my faith up and running...but trust me...when you get to there...it really feels like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders...

  3. Beautiful post my dear, I've struggled with faith myself, but I don't think I can live my life to the fullest without faith. :)


  4. Sounds like everything that has been running through my mind over the last weekend yet I didnt know it was my lack of faith. You clued me in on that. I have had so many stresses, worrys, fears running around my life right now. I sat down over the weekend and didnt understand why I was having such a hard time. Why I felt life was spinning out of control. Why couldnt I see the amazing parts in my life. Is it because I dont have the faith I need for the next steps in life? Maybe my fear is totally taking over all aspects of myself. I guess I need to figure some things out. I love to come here and learn about this amazing women miles and miles away from me. A stranger yet someone I would call a friend. Funny how that can happen in someones life-

  5. it sounds like you do have faith that all will be okay. it falters sometimes though, how can it not? Life is hard.

  6. loving others i think is the hardest. it's tough. i think that in order to have one of these, you need to have all 4. they all go hand-in-hand.

    you're strong and will pull through! have a great day xo

  7. Beautiful, beautiful post. Sometimes just moving forward....taking a step....is an act of faith. It seems to me that this is what you're doing.

  8. Sorry to hear you have been feeling down lately. One day things will be so much better and these days like this will just make you appreciate the good even more.

  9. Your words often mimic the feelings and thoughts of many around you...many who read you...many who love you. If you continue to put yourself in the hands of those around you, you're starting small by having some faith in those people and their intentions. Baby steps are still steps. Have a good hump day.

  10. I too struggle with Faith. Faith that there's a purpose for my life, even though I don't know what it is. Faith that I won't be alone in this life forever. Faith in the goodness and niceness of people I meet.

    I also believe that all four, Compassion, Gratitude, Faith, and Love, go hand in hand. It's hard to have compassion for someone, if you don't have the capacity to love. And the capacity to feel love, allows you to show gratitude to others. Faith is believing in the love you might not always see or feel, but is still there.

    I have to remind myself of these things occasionally, and I'm hoping it gets easier the more I remember them.

  11. heidi, thanks for that. And I know what you mean in saying that you hope and hope for one thing but knowing deep down that it might never come. Maybe faith kicks in when you're just about to lose all hope for better? If anything I hope faith is what remains at the end of a dark day to help me wake up tomorrow.

    noah's mommy, that's what I'm hoping because I feel pretty drained. Wanting to control everything around me and blaming myself for all the goes wrong takes a toll. It'd be nice to throw my hands up and say, "Such is life and I am ok with its imperfections." I think I should start carrying the serenity prayer with me. I'm so glad to hear your faith is solid. Sometimes it really does take something drastic to open our eyes. If only there was a way to get the same results without all the pain.

    susanna-cole, I think very few of us can. I for one haven't been managing too well without it.

    our fantasy, it's always nice to know there are others going through the same struggles. Makes it feel less isolating. The questions you asked are the same ones that have been running through my head: why is it so hard to just appreciate the good and accept the bad? Why do I doubt so much? What am I so upset and afraid of? My answers are usually tied into fear of change and the unexpected. Because as much as something amazing could be around the corner, I also worry it can be something worse. Thanks for sharing your thoughts - and for letting me know they're the same as mine though we're miles apart :)

    ...love meagan, dear Lord is life hard!! And yeah, it's clearly a lot easier to love life and trust when things are going great. The true test is when things start sucking something fierce.

    valerie, I def agree that they're all connected. As for loving others, that is a toughy because you're putting yourself out there and opening your heart to someone else. If you're so used to building walls to protect yourself it can be terrifying to let someone in. I guess once you're so secure in your strength it's much easier to let others in, love and be loved in return. Thanks for the warm thoughts!

    heidi, thanks! Yeah, getting up and forcing yourself to walk after a fall *is* an act of faith. You hope you don't stumble again, but you get stronger each time you do so. Once you see that you can always get back up, a future fall doesn't seem so scary.

    joy, just trying to take the good with the bad. Can't appreciate one with the other, huh? I'd totally pass on the bad if I could though :p

    tooj, thank you for writing this. I know I'm not the only one even though it feels like it some days. I guess this is my way of reaching out, sending out my wishes into the universe and hope it gets heard somehow.

    chicagolady, do you find it's easier to have unshakable faith for someone else and the good that will eventually come to them than it is for yourself? Because sometimes I get this feeling that someone else will do good and be well, but my own path seems so foggy. I loved your connection between compassion, gratitude, faith and love. They really do work together beautifully.

    I trust that you will not be alone and that if you live by following your heart, the rest will fall into place. Of course, it's easier said than done. I'm working on doing the same for myself.


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