“[Christmas is] the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.” ~Charles Dickens

What irony that compassion is born of suffering, that suffering is born of compassion?

Great love glows in the faces of those cry; the feeble, the meek, the hungry, and the alone. Hearts bleed for them. And so compassion is born. Yet our care, our sacrifice, and our gifts — when go so unrecognized by those whom we love — amass such suffering within that our spirits are truly bled by the sorrow. And so suffering is birthed of our love.


If I’ve learned but any one thing in my time, it is this constant duality that persists in our world. I call it the duality of life. In every scenario, in every situation, in every form, at least dual perspectives are present — and never but one should reign. In nature, for night there is day, and an array in between. In life there is good and bad, and one million shades of gray. Oftentimes the dualities exist with ironic balance: bittersweet circumstance we sooner call tragic, unjust, or outright torturous than rejoice that the contrast should even exist:

Without one, there could be no other. Without night, there would be no day. Without death, no life. Without bad, what good could we see?

The duality persists not unjustly, not unfairly, not to torture our souls; but to breathe hope into us always. On the darkest nights, the brightest light may yet shine! Devoid of earthly suffering, what compassion could we ever muster? But hardly enough for our hearts to bleed, for our souls to swell with rigor and courage, for our spirits to muster new strength, for love to glow within.

Bright moon pierces through the frozen sky; but the wind feels warm tonight.
I have seen love, I have seen bliss, I have seen the way.
Come dawn, let spirits drenched in dreams soar with Apollo’s glow.
O moon, shine in the frozen sky. For the wind feels warm tonight.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays. May compassion, forgiveness, love and gratitude be the greatest gifts that you and yours reap.

Flickr photo credit: Stacy Lynn Baum