Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: "Splash" 4-11-13 Deadline (04/04/13)
- TITLE: Compassion Lost
By Taryn Deets
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We’ll call him, my little fish, Compassion, for this is who he is, but not his name. Compassion was only three that day and we’d been living in West Africa for less than a year. He learned to swim much more quickly and easily than his older siblings.
An amazing child, blond with blue eyes, he seems to “get” everything from sports to math: he has an above average intelligence, striking athletic ability, and is the best kind of friend to have. He is called Compassion because he intuitively understands the needs and failures of others, seemingly called to bring joy.
Today, we no longer live in West Africa, but in New York and he is 11. I sit watching him play lacrosse as the rain splashes on my windshield. He is chasing a lime green ball and scoops it up with his stick to toss it to his partner as they practice drills. The raindrops remind me of his tears splashing on the countertop just a few hours earlier; tears inflicted by pain at the hand of his brother. My mind reaches back to a day when Compassion’s kindergarten teacher tells me what a kind heart he has towards his brother, Soccer, adopted from Ethiopia.
The teacher related that every day at recess, Compassion would be playing soccer with his friends, and would see Soccer standing alone. Soccer didn’t find it as easy to fit in as his older brother did, so Compassion would make sure he was included in their game. Over and over throughout the last five years since we adopted Soccer, this type of scenario took place between the brothers.
This year, however, he’s become less and less compassionate with Soccer. Feeling like he is living in the shadow of a golden child, Soccer is very jealous of his brother, never really feeling like a part of our family (though we try very hard to make him so). His jealousy has begun to show itself in the small, seemingly insignificant unkindnesses he showers on his brother Compassion. Built up over time, these words begin to dig into Compassion’s soul and they become like bricks laid one on top of the other, creating a wall, leaving Compassion and Soccer on opposite sides. Today, Soccer, with several well-placed words stacks the final brick and pushes the wall over on top of his brother.
And Compassion freezes; won’t tell me what is wrong. When he finally gets it out, two hours later, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. He seems unforgiving, but I know this was the final brick. As we talk I pray silently and I just listen to his hurt. With time, he forgives again.
And now, as I sit inside my car, rain just sprinkling, I reflect on the bricks that have built up walls in my own heart. After a long New York winter, the daffodils are beginning to poke up out of the ground. Rocks and pebbles have sunken into the once-frozen , now soggy ground. The signs of spring are all around me and my frozen heart feels like it is waking to new life again, too.
When we plunged into adopting three older children, we had no idea how hard integrating them into our family of five was going to be. We, like Compassion that day at the pool in West Africa, were full of joy knowing that this was God’s call on our lives. Now, we struggle with the walls that we are trying to pull down. It often seems that in any ordinary day, more bricks of hurt get placed on those walls than forgiveness can take down. But like with Compassion, all I can do is pray, listen to each of my six children, and help them remove their bricks one at a time.
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