I'm going to be honest here, I'm a crier - evident during my "scratchy-eye" moments during romantic movies like Fools Rush In, inspirational ones like Glory and Rudy, during graduations, weddings, births, and seeing old friends. Most of my life, I'd assumed this automatically meant that I was one of God's truly compassionate people. I mean look at me...my eyes are bloodshot! I really care about those around me - deeply - and I advertise it with appropriate sniffles and boo-hoo's.
BUT...speaking with a dear friend today I realized that this brine emanating from my ducts has very little to do with whether or not compassion truly lives in me, and even less with using that gift to help my friends and family. Touchy-feely does not automatically enroll one into the "I care" club. In fact, it could be argued that those of us with our heart, at least partially, on our sleeves are actually less compassionate than we should be. Why? Because the emotions end-up pouring out like an untamed river in the rainy season and, unfortunately, releasing most of the energy that went with them.
I need to learn from my friends who are more analytical, more apt to slow-down, listen, assess, encourage and, hopefully, give good advice. They share real tools to deal with problems, situations - and honestly, we all need that - just as much as we need a friend to sit next to us and cry.
Obviously, suffering with those whom we love is not wrong or wasteful - today was just a good reminder that God endowed different gifts to each of us - to help those He's placed around us.