News of Sunday’s eruption of El Fuego Volcano in Guatemala hit me first thing on Monday. Its devastation is a reminder both of the power of nature and the way people’s lives can be changed in an instant.

            I first heard about it through texts and emails from others who know I often visit Guatemala. In fact, I feel a special bond with the beautiful and wonderful people of that country. My heart is with those who, already poor, are now facing life and death issues.

            Not to diminish the suffering of those, whose lives and futures are in question, I want to focus on people who are able to suffer solidarity with the Guatemalans. Most of those who contacted me in the last two days are people who have traveled with me on mission trips to San Lucas. Others simply identify with me and thus with my own concerns. Thus begins a ripple effect of human compassion.

            We don’t always have firsthand information of other people. Even watching people’s stories on television can fall short of being there. But immersing ourselves in other people’s lives or caring about those who have immersed themselves - that gives us an inside edge. That is the way true compassion spreads.

        

“Though the mountains fall away and the hills be shaken,

My love shall never fall away from you nor my covenant of peace be shaken,

says the LORD, who has mercy on you.”

Isaiah 54:10