Since entering college, I picked up (or attempted to pick up) “normal reading” which includes reading one book over a period of weeks. Typically, I am a “binge reader” which includes literally consuming a book by reading every waking hour of the day, even through meals. I get so hooked into books that I am known thinking in the accent of the main character. My mom is known for the same habit, so I attributing this behavior to genetic literary addiction.
In my personal challenge to read as normal folk, I have picked up “Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting” by Holly W. Whitcomb. The title of the book caught my eye as I browsed through a bookshelf in our chilly guest room. Though two weeks ago I would have labeled it ‘frantically searching,’ I will now idenitfy this season of my life with the word ‘waiting .’
Waiting has felt tremendously painful at times. It often feels as a dull ache, not so painful that you are paralyzed, but not soft enough that you are ever aware of its presence. I want it to go away soon, because the essence of true waiting does not measurable end. It could stop waiting this moment or maybe this is for years to come.
I have loved how Whitcomb unveils the often well-hidden gifts of waiting. It is such an abstract way to think about waiting. I even had to check the cover again, because when I first picked the book I thought it was “Seven Spiritual Disciplines of Waiting.”
So far I learned about the patience, loss of control, and living in the present. Today was…compassion.
I expected Whitcome to explain how I will be gifted with more compassion for others through the season of waiting. I assumed she would speak of reliability and empathy. But instead, the chapter was about how waiting lets us receive the gift of compassion from others. The headlines of chapter includes:
Compassion reminds us that we are not alone.
Compassion teaches us to receive.
Compassion allows us to be seen for who we really are.
Compassion helps us gather strength from other.
Compassion offers hope.
Gosh, I read this chapter in my favorite coffee shop and I was near tears. Because today was one of those hard days and I felt the weight of waiting and pressure of the future unfolding. Holding my cup of decaf coffee, I began to count. I counted how many people today demonstrated direct compassion towards me.
I counted ten people.
Mind you, I do not have a job. I did not leave the house. Ranging from a simple text to a dear friend who spent a total of 65 minutes comforting and guiding me on the phone, I am drenched in compassion. Though some today were strangers, many are compassionate warriors who have battled for hope and truth in these last nine months of my life. They lasted longer than mere kindness would take them. They gifted wisdom and time beyond what would be considered “equal share” in the relationship. They are daily remind me of heavenly compassion, how Abba despite my weakness and confusion is still ever-present and ever-loving.
I still do not have an answer. I am wondering how I am going to figure this all out. But part of me cares a little bit less about when I will get there, because I am simply awestruck by the compassionate masterpiece Abba is painting all around me.
So, thank you Whitecomb. But even more than that…