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Monday, September 20, 2010

I can read prayer requests again

Back when I started this blog, I started it as a way to vent the increasing pressure I felt at work with a tremendous caseload and not enough time in the day. I was experiencing what we call in the industry, "compassion fatigue," or "burnout" in general.

Part of what this meant is that I had no room left in my mind for another drop of empathy for anyone but the people I was already taking care of. I am still on the prayer email list for the church I was a member of before I was married and, and I couldn't even read the emails anymore - "So and so is sick in the hospital and we don't know what's wrong," "Please pray for someone's grandchild, who is going through a divorce," "Please pray for so and so's best friend's uncle who just found out he had cancer." I couldn't stand another drop of other people's burdens, especially people who I didn't know. It felt the whole world was full of sorrow (which it is!) and I had to hear about every bit of it.

So I marveled today when I found myself reading that email and actually praying for the people and having empathy again without having to squeeze room from the corners of my heart that weren't already crammed with other people's burdens. I think I was afraid I was turning into a monster- its such a relief to find out I do still have compassion left for other people.

1 comment:

  1. Compassion for people we don't know can be hard to muster, especially if we're spending all our compassion on the people we do know.

    The whole world is full of sorrow, that is true.
    The tragedy of humanity is so wide-spread and so demoralizing...I can sometimes hardly deal with it.

    I think that's why our hearts can only have a certain amount of compassion before we start to build walls- it protects us from spending all our time grieving.

    If grieving for the rape and the genocide and the broken families, and the homeless and the pain would stop those things, I would do it...but no matter how sad we feel about things, it doesn't stop them, so we might as well feel happy.