Breath Prayer: “goodness” “and mercy”
Compassion fatigue is a phrase that speaks to the heart of whose we are in this world together.
I don’t know where or how this phrase was birthed. My earliest memory was in the mid-‘90’s when I was working with folks infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. I remember feeling as though I’d been slapped across the face when someone first said it to me. Back before protease inhibitors began to turn this tragic crisis in a new direction, back in the work of us together there were dark and endless days. Friends were growing ill, many dying. Each week. Each day. And there was a weariness of heart and spirit.
For centuries, for lifetimes Psalm 23 has held within its words a journey all its own: He leadeth me. In these ancient words we witness the struggle that comes when traveling life’s path. And here in these words we are given new hope of strength and words of comfort for what’s been and for what will be: thou annoinst my head with oil, my cup runneth over.
Compassion fatigue feels thin and fleeting, goodness and mercy on the other hand are words that will endure and point us on. Goodness and mercy speak to what we are here to live into together.
Prayer: Shepherding God, guide us we pray. Lead us on when the nights are long and the road seems to only wind uphill. Sustain our hearts and spirits so that we may be your hands and feet. May your compassion for your children be seen this day in us. Amen.
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Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.