I feel very moved today. People suffering. Terror of ISIS. Poverty in Africa. Sex slavery. Abuse. Abortions. Cancer. And now, Nepal, a massive earthquake. How does your heart feel? Anything?
Sometimes we simply don’t want to know. We numb our lives with activities to forget. The pain is too much.
My good friend, a cardiothoracic surgeon, gave me the opportunity to photograph and watch him work on a patient that had given me the approval. It was truly an amazing experience. I had this powerful feeling of being in a very holy sacred space. Chest was open, their exposed broken heart was visible. I did not know the patient, his life, his family, his beliefs, his views on politics, morality or God, but in that space, I hoped and prayed the best for him.
I can’t help but wonder how many people feel nothing when seeing the lives of people being broken by natural disaster, disease, poverty, injustice, slavery, abuse. It reveals something about us when we can reverently enter into the pain of others. Only God can move our hearts toward compassion and empathy for others. I am more aware these days of when I am broken, afraid and others enter into my pain and it moves me to respond with compassion for others’ pain.
Jesus is often described as “having compassion,” being moved to respond, entering into their lives. Compassion means to have your intestines moved. His heart was affected by the pain not just because he was God but because he was human and was moved.
Feel something? Move into their pain. Walk into the sacred space of a broken heart. Pray. Volunteer. Give. Just respond.
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. Ezekiel 36.26