Today there are a 1000 voices coming together for compassion.
I’ve been excited about this project from the moment it came across my Facebook feed. It’s such a beautiful goal, and I thought it fit in nicely with my 2015 resolution to spread more kindness. And if the start to our 2015 hasn’t opened Scotty and I up to compassion and kindness, then we need a lot of help.
In my heart and mind, compassion and kindness go hand in hand. They are one, interchangeable. Maybe that’s not the way for everyone, but that’s how it is for me. And so as I sat this week working on this post, I wondered how I would approach it. I had many different ideas as I readied myself for bed last night.
Then I read this post from Tamara. And I knew what I wanted to write.
Compassion is what I strive to teach my son, what, I think, all us parents strive to teach our children. But, as Tamara pointed out, it’s so often the little ones who teach us. I read her post and was reminded of a time my son was a wee bit younger. We were picking out a Christmas gift for the Angel Tree and I was telling him how there are some children in the world who can’t have big Christmases like ours. How we share our blessings by giving to those less fortunate. I think maybe he was four at the time.
That night at home, I walked into his room to get him ready for bed and found him wrapping some of his favorite toys in his blankets. I asked what he was doing and he said,
“Mama, I want to give these toys to the angel kids who can’t have Christmas. Can we share these ones with them?”
I tried to hide my tears as I sat on his bed and praised him and his big heart. I told him we would donate his toys the next day, if he wanted to, and I helped him stack them by his bedroom door.
My heart overflowed that night.
Children are not born knowing hate or discrimination. They are not born knowing the woes of the world. They are sweet and innocent little sponges who soak up all that we show them, whether we intend it or not.
We adults have years of the world hardening our hearts, years of skepticism and judgement (however unintentional it may be) in our minds. We no longer see the world as simply as our children, but we can.
We can step back and take a lesson from those we’re supposed to be teaching. We can FEEL again, and lead with open hearts. We can show compassion and kindness, it really isn’t that hard. Nor does it require that much.
Buy coffee for the person behind you in line. Smile at your neighbor and ask how they are, instead of brushing by impatiently. Leave a Star Wars Valentine at random places throughout your weekend. Pass along a blender you’re not using to someone who needs or wants one. Text that friend whom you haven’t heard from, maybe they just need to know someone is thinking of them. Hold the door open for a stranger. Take flowers to work to brighten the office for you AND all of your coworkers. Donate to your local mission. Make sandwiches and take them to the homeless on the streets.
We can all do these things, we can all be these people. We can be the change we wish to see, we can be the hope in this worn and weary world.
We can be the little boy giving his beloved Finding Nemo and Lego toys to the less fortunate.
We can be compassion.