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Counting Omer 5780, Day 16

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

Gevurah ShebeTiferet Limitations; Spiritual, Physical, Emotional Strength; Boundaries within Elevated Beauty, Balance, Integration, the Unexpected, Miracles, and Order. Tiferet intersects – balances – Khesed and Gevurah.

Quality: Framing the expression of Compassion

Compassion without discernment tends to see every situation as a crisis, every crisis as an emergency, every emergency as a disaster, and disasters as the end of the world as we know it. Help is always needed, now! Because tomorrow is too late!!

More times than not, the help given is not useful to the recipients. Why? Because the focus is on the need of the giver(s) to be needed instead of on the true needs and well-being of recipient(s).

Framing, setting boundaries around, compassion provides a clear view to assess a whole situation by listening to recipients. They know what they need and what resources they bring. Possibilities and solutions are then created through partnerships that extend beyond the immediate situation, crisis, emergency, or disaster.

Framing compassion is equally necessary when the request comes from family, friends, or community members. A neighbor with limited resources asked to borrow $10. I only had a twenty. Since I was on my way out, she said she would wait until I got back from my errands with change. I agreed and did not ask why, which surprised her. I told her it was her business. So, she volunteered that it was harder to pay back $20 than $10. So, I lent her $10.

It can be harder when a friend has a need that pulls on our emotions: a depression, the loss of a loved one, an important someone in the hospital... Sometimes, with well-intentions, we say “Let me know what you need.” On this end, I have come to understand that I rarely know what I need. Skillful friends taught me what to do as they came to me with concrete offers: a meal out or in that accommodates my restrictions, with or without their company; calls on their way to the store to include my shopping in theirs… One of my favorites was “when can I come by and give you a hug?” Once, when I broke my foot, a friend came by almost every evening on his way home, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, and did whatever else was needed for me to have a clean kitchen! I LOVE a clean kitchen. The rest of my home can be a wreck, and the kitchen is always on the verge of being a wreck when I’m cooking or baking. However, once all that is done, the kitchen gets cleaned. He knew that about me, and so he offered me the one thing I wouldn’t think to ask someone else to do.

When I tell someone what they need, I am putting myself up as the expert on their life – NOT! This last point is part of why most programs intended to “help” fail.

I’ve learned that it’s only by sitting or standing beside someone and listening as they describe their world, I am seeing some of what they see, experiencing some of what they experience, and am humbled by their willingness to be so open with me. When I bring compassion, allowing the need of the recipient(s) from their perspective to be the focus, I am living the life-giving constraints of Gevurah within Tiferet.



© Sabrina Sojourner 2020

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