Posts Tagged ‘compassion’

It’s a scary video to watch. My friend, Scott, caught quite the scene on his camera at the CAV’s hometown victory celebration in downtown Cleveland yesterday. In the video, you’ll see a young girl who had climbed-up to a very high second story ledge with her boyfriend to get a good view of LeBron James and the CAV’s parade below but, then, didn’t know how to get herself down.

What impressed me about the situation is how many people were hoping and praying that the girl didn’t fall and seriously injure herself. In fact, after a group of people caught her, the crowd roared with delight that she was safe.

It seems to me that there a lot of people in America today who are on the edge, too. They’ve lost jobs and opportunities. They’re struggling to keep-up in an unstable and uncertain economy. And more and more, America’s losing its once proud and successful social safety net. People are falling and there are fewer resources to help catch them.

But what Scott’s video reminds me of is that if we’d just stop listening for a minute to the media and the politics of fear, which tend to blame or demonize those who struggle, you’ll find that people are essentially good-willed and don’t want to let each other fall. In fact, turn off the television or computer and tune-out the political rhetoric and social-media vitriol and you’ll find that even in a crowd of 1.3 million people, the estimated attendance in downtown Cleveland yesterday, most people want and will do some very generous things if you let them. It’s in our godly DNA. As Russell Simmons, Def Jam records co-founder and humanitarian once said, “compassion is the ultimate expression of your highest self.” Give people and chance to express that highest-self, the divine self, and they will.

I pray that in the thick of this election season, no matter who wants to build walls, cut taxes, make deals, close schools, decrease care, blame the poor for being poor, or leave any friend or stranger out on a ledge, that we might remember the image of a crowd of good people in downtown Cleveland who would not let a young girl perish.

Are you thinking of making a New Year’s resolution this year? Read this first! Even if you’re not, I hope you find this as inspirational as I did.

I was attempting to write something profound about New Year’s resolutions this week when I learned that an old friend of mine added a ramp to his house. No one in his family needs a ramp. And he didn’t install it to increase the value of his home. He built the ramp so that his wheelchair-bound neighbor and longtime friend who has ALS could come over and visit anytime he wanted. His friend would never have to miss a backyard cookout, a football game on television or the annual post-church Christmas Eve party either.

I’ve decided that I have nothing to add. My friend’s benevolent act says it all: at New Year’s or any other day on the calendar, the best resolution we can ever make is to a bring a little more peace, love and understanding to the world through our gracious acts of kindness and compassion.

God Bless You All for a Healthy, Happy and Compassionate 2014
R. Mark Giuliano
The Old Stone Church, Cleveland

Are you listing?

God gave you two ears and one mouth. Get the math? We should listen at least twice as much as we speak.

So here I am reading some old Paul Tillich quotes on BrainyQuote.com, a website for those of us who are brainy enough to read quotes but not books, and I come across this great quote: “The first duty of love is to listen.” A beautiful quote, right? The only problem is that Brainy Quote has Tillich’s profound statement, eloquent in its simplicity, stuck to an image of two adorable elephants nuzzling one another!

One of the worst things we can do to love is tame it through sentimentality. When we make love sentimental or saccharine we diffuse it as a power to change lives and transform the world.

Listening, a great act of love, is about our willingness to surrender our own ego in an attempt to hear and, therefore, understand others. Listening requires empathy and compassion.

Listening, in many ways, is dying to self so that others may live; so that new relationships of understanding can be born.  That’s love.

– RMG