At my church we have a small group for women called MOOs. MOO stands for Mothers of Offenders. I’m the pastor sponsor of that group but I’m also a true member of that group. Of the five boys we’ve raised they’ve all been an offender, from a span of one night to 30+ years. This is a small group that no one wants to be in. The cost to be a part of this small group is great. It is also a group that we moms all gain life from.
I read this quote from an American Buddhist nun, “When we practice generating compassion, we can expect to experience the fear of our pain. Compassion practice is daring. It involves learning to relax and allow ourselves to move gently toward what scares us. The trick to doing this is to stay with emotional distress without tightening into aversion, to let fear soften us rather than harden into resistance.” (Pema Chodron)Every mom in our MOO group is living with what scares us. We find it easy to share compassion with each other as we are all along the way of a new life adjusting to what our child has done. It’s not our fault that he/she was arrested but our lives are forever changed. And it hurts. The pain is great.
We have a choice with what to do with this pain, and the fear of our pain. We can numb it or we can come together and have beautiful “church.”
Do you live in the fear of your pain? Can you move gently toward what scares you?
From this window, I can say that Jesus’ entire life was lived with Him moving toward the fear of His pain. No wonder He was so compassionate. These qualities do go hand-in-hand.
It takes bravery to live with compassion. My fellow MOO moms, you are brave!