A Story of Love and Compassion for the Holidays
Dec 02, 2016 11:22PM
By Richard Brendan
The holiday season, filled with celebrations including Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, is an auspicious time of the year. This is a powerful time of rebirth and transformation—to acknowledge our shadow, heal our wounds, release old thought patterns and align with our destiny. It’s a time of coming together in celebration and hope, peace and the rebirth of light.
My prayer for us is that we awaken to the sheer brilliance of our being, the very essence of life that we are. With this newfound strength we can dive deep into the darkness, our shadows and fears, and shine on them the light of awareness with love and compassion. We take our shadows and darkness and use them to create life and beauty.
One of my favorite guests on my weekly radio program was Marianne Williamson. Regarding the meaning and power of Christmas, she writes:
“According to mystical tradition, Christ is born into the world through each of us. As we open our hearts, he is born into the world. As we choose to forgive, he is born into the world. As we rise to the occasion, he is born into the world. As we make our hearts true conduits for love, and our minds true conduits for higher thoughts, then absolutely a Divine birth takes place.”
As I reflect upon my own life during this season of rebirth and transformation, one individual that graced my life comes to mind.
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. ~Dalai Lama
Mildred… from bag lady to homecoming queen.
In the 1980s I was an associate minister at a church in Brownsburg. As I’d drive to appointments, I’d notice an older woman pushing a shopping cart along the sidewalk, always looking down and muttering to herself. Many people simply called her a bag lady and drove on or walked away. One day I was getting coffee at our local Burger Chef and there in the corner of the restaurant was Mildred. She was drinking hot chocolate, still looking down and appeared to be talking to herself.I made one of the wisest decisions of my life. I asked permission to sit down with her. She responded, “uh-huh, uh-huh” while still looking down into her drink. I took that as a yes not knowing that’s how Mildred responded to everything. It was the beginning of many such meetings and I invited my dear friend Sandy into the mix. With each encounter we noticed Mildred feeling more comfortable with us. She slowly started to raise her head and eventually looked into our eyes and engaged in conversation. She still stuttered but a tiny seed of love and compassion was planted.
It’s been said that one moment of unconditional love can call into question the shame of a lifetime. In one year, the changes I witnessed in Mildred (and Paul) were nothing less than miraculous and a testimony to the healing power of love.
It was now high school football season… and homecoming time! My children and I enjoyed going to the parade… mostly for the candy that was tossed out by the football players to the crowd. There were marching bands and lots of convertibles with homecoming princesses and a queen, voted by the student body. I remember my young son (now 36), yelling out, “Tootsie Rolls!” and we both dove in to see who could retrieve the most.
While we were playfully wrestling over the candy, I saw out of the corner of my eye a convertible with the name of Mildred’s assisted living facility. While on my knees, I looked up and to my shock but great joy was Mildred. She was voted Homecoming Queen!
There she was, a big smile on her face, waving awkwardly to the crowd, her crown trying to jump off her head. People were cheering for her. I looked around and could tell that nobody had any idea that she was the former “Bag Lady of Brownsburg.” The Divine then spoke to me: “I’ll love you IF… produces problems. I’ll love you No Matter What… produces prophets and kings…. and even homecoming queens.” I wept because I witnessed how the healing power of love and compassion can transform a life.
This time of year is hectic with all the hustle and bustle of the season. So pause, take a breath and remind yourself that the lights, sights and sounds are preparing, celebrating and announcing a sacred birth within you as well. When you tap into it, freely share it with others. The greatest gift we can give is the gift of love and compassion.
On that note, here’s a blessing for you and yours:
May your eyes be so blessed you see the Divine in everyone. Your ears, so you hear the cry of the poor. Your hands, so that everything you give and everything you receive, is a sacrament. Your feet, so you run to those who need you.
And may your heart be so opened, so set on fire, that your love… your love, changes everything.
Richard Brendan is a speaker, coach and producer and hosts the Richard Brendan… Bringing Love to Life radio show at noon on Sundays on 88.7 FM WICR. He can be reached at [email protected].