January 27, 2010 It's a cliché, but all that comes to mind as I try to think of something new and profound to pass on to you is: the older I get the more I see that things stay the same.
At some point in the week, I had a little collection of thoughts on compassion laying right here by the computer. My idea was to put them into some form of collage and share them with the rest of you, but for some reason they've disappeared. I gave up, and sat down with Mike's Promise Keepers Study Bible. In it was a little devotional book—opened to yesterday's and today's meditations on Psalm 103. I re-read yesterday's. I read today's—the one which included Woody Allen's perspective on death: "It's not that I'm afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens."
I re-read the psalm—so familiar I was overlooking the obvious. Verse 4 says: "He redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion." And verses 13 and 14 read as follows: "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust."
God's tender, faithful, stubborn love as evidenced through the generations.
And I was trying to find newer words for it. What was I thinking? It was at that moment my eyes fell on a little insert in the Bible—actually a Promise Keepers Study Bible which read: "This psalm opens and closes with the greatest advice anyone can give: a simple six-word line where the psalmist tells the core of his being to think properly about God. What a way to start and end your day," said the writer of that little blurb. Then he added this little recommendation: "Take a week—seven consecutive days—and read this psalm at different times throughout each day."
That resonated with me, because on Sunday our guest minister had read what we've come to refer to as The Lord's Prayer and challenged us to pray it through slowly and thoughtfully every day—even several times a day—for a month to let the words penetrate our thinking."
Two passages so familiar I had come to say them almost by rote, now hopefully will shape my day-to-day thinking, bringing God's kind of compassion to the forefront of my very being. Hopefully they will for you also.
Willene Tanis is a longtime resident of the Imlay City area and an active volunteer in the community. Many readers find her 'Perspectives' column to universal and uplifting.