Many people see the reed and how it bends under the heavy burden of snow, or bows its branch tips to the ground in the rush of flood waters, how it sways whatever way the wind blows, and what they see is weakness, spinelessness, pliancy, a giving-in to the forces around it.
Unlike the tall, thick cottonwoods with their deeply corded trunks, the reed doesn’t reach above the canopy, doesn’t strive for great heights. But then, walking through the woods after a fierce wind or a raging flood and you find the massive root balls of the cottonwoods ripped from the soil, their root systems too shallow to hold against extremes in weather.The reeds though, put their energy into digging themselves deep into the earth with tangled intertwined root systems that hold against even the constant erosion of the river year.
Compassion is sometimes seen as weakness, a refusal to take a stand, to make a point, to prove the rightness of your stance. But too often a thrust of righteousness has shallow roots, too much energy out into reaching the heights of being right and not enough into digging deeper. Compassion is only weak if it too has shallow roots, does not stand in it’s deep truth, but bends too easily and lets itself be uprooted from its intuition and swept away.
There must be both–a fierce compassion with the ability to dance through change, but remain deep rooted in the ability to hold to the bank of self knowledge against the erosion of living.