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Cultivate Compassion


By Deacon Tammy Devine

ELCA Wellness Manager
January 2018

"As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience." Colossians 3:12

I watched the stream of people making their way to the communion table. Though unaware of the burdens they carried, I prayed for them. I was all too aware that just as I hid the pain and loss I was carrying, so too might they. How often we wear masks that protect us. How often we keep our stories to ourselves, trying to distance ourselves from pain and vulnerability.

Over the past few years, I have been building on my wellness work — first to diminish my inner critic (which fed self-doubt) so I could grow in confidence, and last year to live in the present. This year, my wellness focus is on compassion for myself and others.

Compassion grows when we are willing to meet pain rather than flee from it. Christina Feldman, the author of Compassion: Listening to the Cries of the World, writes, “Compassion asks us to explore how we may transform our own hearts and minds in the moment. Can we liberate them from ill will, fear, and cruelty? Can we find the steadfastness, patience, generosity, and commitment not to abandon anyone or anything in this world? The path of compassion is cultivated one step and one moment at a time. Each of those steps lessens the mountain of sorrow in the world.”

What intentional steps on the wellness path will you take this year? The choices we make can make a difference — for ourselves and for the world. Remember: We can’t be healthy alone. Ask for the help you need, and then be the help others need. In this new year, may you live more fully into your call to live well as a whole and holy child of God!

Tammy Devine's monthly reflection invites you to consider how your faith and health are intertwined. She shares her personal journey to help support you in new ways as you strive to live well in Christ — for the sake of ministry in God's world. ELCA organizations, feel free to print or link to Tammy’s reflections in your publications.

Since joining Portico in 2004, Tammy has provided whole-person health promotion, education, and inspiration to ELCA rostered leaders and lay employees. Contact Tammy Devine at

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