Monday, March 20, 2006

Compassionate Listening

What was the most compassionate thing anyone has ever done for you? The most compassionate times in my life have involved friends staying by my side when I have been heartbroken. I cannot recall any of their advice or sympathy cards. Their presence and listening ears are all I remember.
Here in Los Angeles, there are many people talking about the poor; however, there are few people talking to the poor. Youth groups that come on CSM trips typically have an opportunity to get to know some of the homeless by name. Some groups invite the poor to lunch, others hand out socks and blankets. These are small acts. But they are small acts done with great love!
And this compassionate love is what the poor remember. Last week, Nina, a homeless woman, approached my group and asked, "Are you guys the ones who come to listen to people?" Her comment made me cry. I am so happy that CSM groups are known for their listening ears. When the poor are ignored all day long by passersby, perhaps sitting down and hearing their stories is the most compassionate act we can do. May we continue to be known for small acts done with great love!
-Jason Porterfield, CSM City Host, Los Angeles

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