My friend, Nina, has been in the hospital in South Africa since November 7. Against the odds she is alive, though far from well. Her spirit, however, is definitely whole and her communications let me know that. What I’m struggling with is the fact that she is physically suffering in a very dramatic, painful way. I can say the words, “I know she is not this body” and believe them on one level, but on another, it breaks my heart that she may lose her fingers and toes, blackened as they are. Frankly, I hate that she’s going through this at all.

It occurs to me that her ordeal is the same as anyone else’s on the planet…that everywhere at every moment, someone is experiencing something equally awful. My heart aching for Nina touches that part of me that knows we are One, and that her experience is my experience is your experience. Compassion is a unifying emotion.

As a student of A Course in Miracles, I am doing what I can to filter my response to Nina’s difficulties through the wisdom and peace the Course offers. But I’m not consistently successful. At the moment, I just feel sad…and I know that’s OK.

Still, I trust that Peace will return because I feel it beckoning as I write these words. And as the Course so beautifully expresses: “You have never given any problem to the Holy Spirit He has not solved for you, nor will you ever do so.”

What could be more compassionate than that?

©Maria K. Benning, M.Ed.

Licensed Pastoral Therapist

Sliding Scale Sessions $75-150


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