For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Compassion Isn't Big or Small, Just Personal

As I write this, the news media is full of headlines concerning the missing Malaysian flight. 239 people are gone.

If you are like me, this is more than you can wrap your mind around, and it's easy to leave it there, in my unfathomable realm. Letting it be too fantastical to be real means I don't have to think about or care about those real people whose lives have human-size holes in them now. Easy for them to be the least of my concerns.

Except, isn't that the very people I'm supposed to care for? The least of these?

But how do I care about the least of these when the loss feels too great to comprehend? How do I make their pain personal? By looking at it personally.

Those 239 people were mothers/fathers, husbands/wives, sons/daughters, friends, loved ones.

They were people called every day or every week. People laughed with them, shared dreams with them, had dreams with them. They were the movie buddy, shopping buddy, coffee buddy. They were the one who encouraged when times were hard and listened when things just needed to be said. They were the pieces of lives, the very important pieces. They were the footsteps down the hall at night, the door opening after work, the one always called, the perfume always ready for a hug. They were the sounds and smells of life.

I don't know any of them.

But I know I have a shirt that I keep simply because it smells like my mom, and I know what it is like to want to hug her again.

I know what it is like to think something is funny and I need to call Rob because he'll think it is hysterical, too.

I know what it is like to see a heart in some odd place and take a picture so I can text my friend Sharilyn.

I know what it is like to crawl in bed and see an empty place and have no one for my toe to touch.

I know what a human-size hole looks like in my own heart, and I imagine it is just as crushing in theirs.

No, I don't know them, but I do. And this monstrous loss isn't too big for me to comprehend because I know it is human-size, and I comprehend that well. And it isn't hard to make it personal when you realize it wasn't an airplane that was lost, but 239 persons.

Part of me is afraid for it to be personal because what if it hurts and I cry and people don't understand why I am crying for a bunch of strangers?

But are they really strangers? Or just people I've never met who have experienced grief like I have?

And maybe that is really what I need to understand more than anything else.

Copyright 2014 Jerri Kelley Phillips

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