Several months ago, I heard a sermon in which the pastor spoke about how one must have context to have compassion. He went on to explain that context brings clarity. The comments he made articulated many things I already knew to be true. Truths I had learned through my experiences serving others.
Context is defined as a set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular situation, event, etcetera.
So often I am given the chance to hear the stories(context) of those whom we serve at Never Alone. It is in those moments of listening that I can see clearly the journey that has led this person to where they currently are. Context does not make excuses for the circumstances that a person is in, but it does bring clarity. And clarity brings understanding.
There is something beautiful that happens when context and compassion collide. Compassion is defined as a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. Too often we look at one person’s circumstances through the lens of our own lives. However, when we take the time to truly listen to the story of one’s life, our heart expands and we can more clearly see the person that stands before us and not a set of circumstances.
And isn’t that what most people desire? To be seen….to be heard…
Mother Theresa said that we like to talk about the poor, but we do not like to talk to the poor. Listening takes time. It takes courage. It takes love. The Never Alone team takes the time, finds the courage, and steps out in love every day that we open our doors. Our team knows that beyond the need for food and clothes, there is an even greater need to know there is someone who is willing to come along side and let you know you are never alone.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
I have no doubt that God is with me always! It is my prayer that all who enter the doors of Never Alone, whether they be the guests that we serve or the volunteers who serve, leave here knowing that they are not doing this crazy life alone.