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Everyone needs compassion

The first of the Laura Ingalls Wilder 'Little House' books - "Little House in the Big Woods" (the story of her own childhood, growing up in a pioneer family in a log cabin in around 1871) ends with these words:
Pa said, “Go to sleep now.”

But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa’s fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods. She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth, the fire-light gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle. She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting.

She thought to herself, “This is now.”
She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the fire-light and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.
I don't know if you have to read the whole book to feel the emotion of that, or whether you need to be tired, or have small children. But there it is: the beautiful memory of being a small child. "Now is now." The gutting perspective is, of course, that it was written as an older lady, who is now dead.

We have a four-year-old daughter. We have the privilege of giving her special childhood moments. Yet she too will grow old and one day die. You can't hang on to a single moment.

A happy childhood is a wonderful blessing. But all those people out there, whether they have happy memories or not, are just like that little child, who once was, but who quickly grows and will be gone. So fragile. So sad.

A challenge for 2012: instead of viewing people as tough, cold, secure or complete, let's remember what they really are - fragile, and passing. What they need more than anything else is the compassion of a Saviour, who gives a future that can be held on to.
"When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
(Matthew 9:36-38)