“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”
—Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) Catholic Priest, Author
spending time with my mom as she battles parkinson’s reminds me of all the beautiful things i have in my life. as i watch her life get smaller and smaller, i realize just how big my life is. there are fewer things she can do, that we so easily take for granted. yet her brain is so sharp. how trapped she must feel, so limited in her abilities.
i want her life to be easier and more joyful, but some days it’s just a matter of limiting the amount of pain she’s having to deal with. the little everyday things, like going to the bathroom, swallowing bites of food, are such huge accomplishments for her. and i want to be with her to celebrate all those minor victories.
all those wonderful physical activities that i now find myself in awareness of, like taking steps out my door into the bright sunlight, chewing and tasting the food that i cook, swallowing slowly and with appreciation, speaking and being understood, getting up out of bed, taking a warm shower and washing my hair – are all little things in my life that are huge tasks for her.
in her small world, small daily tasks are monumental. in my big world, these same tasks are often taken for granted and may go unappreciated.
in living, i will be mindful and grateful for all my blessings, for i am open to so many.
in living, i find compassion for my mom who is trying her best to enjoy the rest of her precious life.