Paul has an enthusiasm for exploring the world of faith and spiritual well being, which he wishes to share through all that he writes.
Winter has settled in. It is a fine crisp cold day. It is another good day to put on my hoodie, the one I wear all year. It's my spiritual hoodie of compassion, kindness, patience and more. It's my hoodie of humility. Wearing it, I become it. It comforts and empowers. It's a beautiful thing.
"Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
- Colossians 3:12 NIV
I have a sweatshirt with a hood. Finely crafted with the comfort of compassion, it feels real good. I feel compassion from above and compassion from within. I see compassion in action. and the many opportunities to show compassion and to give comfort. But I see also the opportunities that I may have missed or neglected.
Feelings of compassion often arise naturally in response to the hardships and difficulties of others, but I sometimes mistakenly believe that there are those who have no need, or are not worthy, of my compassion. Concerned with my own worries, I may fail to recognize the woes of others, or worse, see them as being trivial or petty. But then I remind myself how difficult it can feel compassion for myself when I have little feelings toward others. So I put on my hoodie and I look to show compassion even when it does not come quite so naturally, and it does not take long for it to become a strong feeling once again. Feelings of compassion often move us, that is they really do get us moving; compassion is all about action. So I do what I can to assist others and my desire for the well being of others grows. It begins with kindness and works its way out from there. I speak comfort; I let go of harsh attitudes and anger, and as one thing leads to another, I find myself being more patient and gentle. There is no need to hold back on the compassion because I know it is going to keep coming, helping me to see, opening my eyes to the many opportunities and the very many ways to show compassion and to be kind.
With a cheerful look and a kind word, or perhaps even a bad joke or two, I share the kindness that I feel. I return kindness with kindness, and unkindness with kindness. I show kindness to those who I may otherwise easily become angry with because of some disagreement, not liking much the way they do things, not sharing their point of view. But remembering that I am wearing my kind and compassionate humble hoodie, I see that the person standing in front of me, or any other person is more important than any attitude or viewpoint.
Kindness may sometimes require a little patience, but by putting on my hoodie, I am also putting on patience and gentleness, and I get to feel these things, bringing them to life. And wearing them, I bring them with me. I am patient with others and I am patient with myself. I am patient with situations and tasks. I remind myself that those who are closest to me may be the ones in most need of my patience, but I must also see when I am being the one who is behaving in ways that require the patience of others. Being patient may sometimes mean slowing down somewhat. Taking the time to show some kindness and compassion can be refreshing and calming, and it is at these times when I am more likely to recognize when someone is trying to be kind and patient with me, times that I otherwise may have missed. I slow down and listen to what others are saying, finding in their words more reasons to feel compassion. I slow down and I look. I slow down and I listen.When I slow down, I notice some things, like the abundance of compassion and kindness that already exists in this wonderful world. And I am deeply humbled by this.
We Are What We Wear
When I practice kindness and compassion, I become kind and caring. And this is true for all of us. When we wear it, we become it. We approach people or situations with a little more patience, becoming a bit more forgiving. These are all noble virtues and they, like my hoodie, have a common thread, and that thread is humility.
Humility is a feeling, a deep and true feeling of reverence towards the higher powers from which these things arise. We honor these powers and defer to their wisdom and guidance, while also seeing and feeling them in ourselves. The more power we feel, the more humility we also feel because true humility comes with the absence of arrogance and pride. Humility is often described as lowliness, but it is more like a rising, rising above our need to look for fault in others, rising above our own foibles, like believing we are better or higher than others.
Humility is not lowliness; it is holiness. But it is not of the 'holier than thou' variety because it is seeing also those higher powers in everyone. Humility possesses the holiness of the giving type, even if the only thing we have to give is our compassion, kindness and patience. Putting on our hoodies, coats or jackets of gentleness, we take it easy on ourselves and others. And the more power we feel, the more patient and gentle we become. We look toward those higher powers; we look to God; we look to Christ, and what we see is love.
"And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
- Colossians 3:14 NIV
We all know that love is patient and love is kind. When we are in a loving state, we cannot be angry or envious. We are forgiving and thankful. We are thankful for all the kindness and compassion that we receive, and for the power that enables us to keep it all coming, and to give it all away. Love is the thread that makes our hoodies last; and just as with humility it comes without arrogance or pride. It is the thread of unlimited supply. It is the thread that lets our hoodies shine.
Love has the power to let us also shine, shine from inside our hoodies. We put on love and let down our hoods to release this radiance. We let our lights shine - let them shine, let them shine, for as we would not want to hide our lamps under bushels, blankets, beds or baskets, we would not want to hide them beneath our hoods either. We uncover our lamps, letting out the power and the light, the power and the light of goodness and love. We shine and we smile. Its a beautiful thing.
Answer this question, if you care to, and feel free to leave a comment below.
© 2014 Paul K Francis
Paul K Francis (author) from east coast,USA on September 12, 2017:
Thank you, Ioannis, for your encouraging comments. Keep shinning. Have a great day.
Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on September 12, 2017:
We shine, and we smile. I so much agree with you! I loved it. Thank you for this perception of we are what we wear.
Paul K Francis (author) from east coast,USA on April 15, 2014:
Yes! And compassion also nurtures forgiveness. Thanks for reading
Have a great day.
North Wind from The World (for now) on April 14, 2014:
I think that compassion is something that many people ignore and therefore do not understand. It may be a quality that they do not think they need to have. Compassion does come from humility and perhaps that is why it is hard for many to be compassionate. But as the Lord says, 'Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.'
Paul K Francis (author) from east coast,USA on January 30, 2014:
Hey Eric, Thanks for the encouraging comment, and thanks for taking the time to check it out.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on January 29, 2014:
Just an awesome way to relate this powerful message -- thank you