My friend made the statement that "some things are just too horrible to contemplate." I wasn't too sure to what she was referring, so I asked. Her response was that she had a chicken in her bathtub and it wasn't doing too well. My first reaction, as I envisioned this chicken thrashing around in her bathtub, was actually one of laughing right out loud. It was such a funny picture in my mind that I couldn't begin to grasp the seriousness of her situation. This is why I am so thankful for the protection of facebook...it gives us a few minutes to hopefully think before we respond in a knee-jerk fashion. After I composed myself it began to dawn on me that my friend was actually grieving and feeling very sad about this chicken. You see, she raises chickens and loves them...she connects with them much like I connect with my owls. They aren't just something to feed, gather their eggs, and later put on the grill for supper...she cares about her chickens. They are special to her, and that's okay. I need to respect that and understand and try to empathize with her feelings. I finally came out with a rather lame response, but it was all I could think of..."I am very sorry. I don't know what else to say. I've never known someone with a chicken in their bathtub before. I will keep you in my thoughts and hope for the best." A few minutes later she responded, "And just like that, no more chicken in the bathtub, she's gone." I do feel sad about that. My friend is grieving for that which she loved.
See, I never cared much about chickens before...probably because when I was a child I ventured too close into the chicken coop on our farm and was savagely attacked by a very territorial mean old rooster, leaving scars on my legs from his sharp claws and beaks and scars in my mind for the rest of my life. But just because I have been injured by a rooster doesn't mean that I shouldn't sympathize with someone else when they are hurting at the loss of a special chicken...and this can be applied to many other circumstances in life.
Oftentimes we allow our hurts and prejudices to keep us from caring about others in their time of need. Or perhaps because we don't feel the same way about a particular subject or haven't suffered the same kind of loss as another person we don't respect their feelings or can't comprehend why they should feel so passionate about something or someone. But we need to try...we ought to remember how others may have comforted us when we were grieving or hurting, even though they may not have completely understood our sorrow or pain...and we need to pass that same compassion on to others during their time of need. Yes, even when they are grieving for a chicken.
Lord, please help me to be more compassionate with others, just as I would want them to be compassionate with me in my time of need. Help me to take my eyes off of myself and my personal passions long enough to see others the way YOU see them, and to care for them in the way that YOU would want me to care. Forgive me, Lord, when I fail to show your love to others. I'm still learning...and I thank you for your patience with me. Amen."Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." II Corinthians 1:3-4.