I’m a “cup half full” kind of person, always wanting to believe that, even if you have to rummage around in there a while to find it, there is good in everyone, that there is always hope and that tomorrow will be a better day. I don’t think it’s a naive way of living, but rather a confidence that comes from knowing that nothing we do with the best of intentions is wasted, that the God who loves us will use “everything for good.”
Yesterday evening, after I spent the day with dear friends and colleagues attending a seminar in Columbus sponsored by the Salvation Army on “How Mental Health Counselors Can Help Victims of Human Trafficking,” the most vivid thing I could remember as I closed my eyes was the terrified little face of the tiny little girl in the video filmed somewhere in Asia, knowing she was being sold to a man who was going to rape her. The woman selling her claimed she was 11 but she didn’t look a day older than my almost 5 year old grand daughter.
Then I got on my email this morning, and saw a very encouraging response to a blog I had posted some many weeks ago on “men who love porn and the women who love them.” The writer said it was such an encouraging article, and that they had re-blogged it onto their site so they could refer to it often. My first thought, “okay, this is why you do this, this is why we little band of encouragers keep doing the work we do, to help others.” So, naturally, out of curiosity, I clicked onto THEIR blog site to see what gems of wisdom they were spreading. It was a porn site. I only allowed my eyes to stay there long enough to realize what I was seeing, and then I wanted to throw up.
All of this to say, is that if you care about others, you will get hurt. If you open a book, listen to a lecture, or attend a seminar on a subject that not many people will acknowledge exists, you will have your heart changed forever. You can never go back and pretend “it’ doesn’t exist anymore because you KNOW. And if you reach out to share, you may have your hand slapped. If you cry at the heartbreak of others, you will be laughed at and scorned. But do it anyway. Because it does make a difference. Remember to take care of yourself. Compassion fatigue is real. Single moms know it better than anyone, so love on them a little bit extra today, and take care of YOU.
I want to leave with you with a poem by Mother Theresa, who knew better than anyone what compassion fatigue felt like first hand. She also knew she had a faithful Protector at her side as she worked alone in the slums:
People are often unreasonable,
illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and true enemies;
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest anyway.
What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.