A Simple, Powerful Act of Compassion


By Ralph Barnim

It was mid March, 1986, a Sunday afternoon. I was helping a neighbour put up a surprise birthday banner for his wife on the front of his garage when my then eight-year old son came across the road to get me saying that the pastor of my dad’s church was on the phone. The pastor asked me, “When was the last time you’ve seen your father?” My mom had passed away three years earlier and so my dad was living alone. “Friday” I said. He told me that my dad always recorded the message for people in hospital or home sick and that he either did it personally or designated someone if he was unavailable. It was unusual for him to miss. I told the pastor that I would immediately go over to check on him.

When I arrived at home (for it was always “home” to me), everything was still drawn for night time. I made my way in, all the while shouting for my dad. I found him in bed. He had passed away during the night. Sobbing and very distraught, I turned around only to fall into the enfolding arms of the church pastor. He said nothing and that was all I needed. I will never forget that day or that simple, powerful, act of compassion.

“Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.”  Lamentations 3:32 NIV

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