SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2011


What is compassion?  It is a deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.    A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

I am very fortunate to be able to work at a Missionary church every other Saturday.  We put together food hampers for the unfortunate people who come walking in with a need of food.  Each person that we provide food for must be registered with the Food Bank.  They are given a card and we are to fill the hampers according to what numbers are shown on this card.

It was the weekend before Christmas and a man around my age came up to me directly.  He was talking very softly with his head hanging low.  He said that he will have his two daughters with him this Christmas.  He has been fighting for several years to see his girls and finally this year the court has awarded him access.  The girls will be staying with him for four days but he was feeling overwhelmed because he didn’t have enough food in the cupboards for the additional mouths.  He asked if I could make an exception and provide him extra food for his two girls.  Looking at this man you could see mixed emotions in him.  When he spoke of his girls, you could see his eyes twinkle with the excitement of having his girls with him for the first year in many, yet when he spoke of the lack of food in his cupboard his eyes clouded over with embarrassment of having to ask for extra food.  Overall, you could see that this man has struggled in his years and life has taken a toll on him.  My heart went out to him.  How could I not help a fellow brother in need, especially at Christmas?  I went into the pantry and pulled items off the shelves and filled those shopping bags.  As I was putting groceries into the bags, I was thinking, we at Christmas think about what presents are we wanting under the tree and this man was only asking for extra food to feed his two girls at Christmas.  When I came out of the kitchen carrying out his numerous bags of groceries the light in his eyes shone.  The smile came to his lips.  I wished him a Merry Christmas and to have lots of fun with his girls.  He thanked me and said now this will make his Christmas.

Once he left my chest felt happy and tears came to my eyes and I knew the Holy Spirit was working in me.  I listened to this man, his story, his pain, his request and all I had to do was provide him with food.

– Cathy Burns