Compassion Creates Community
|Image Credit: Lily’s Creations|
The dirty, wild, curses-like-a-sailor-child you look at daily and see only positive qualities in: curiosity, intelligence, energy, desire.
The single mother of three children whom you see as you order breakfast from her at the restaurant in the morning and pay her for your gas at the station on your way home in the evening.
The man you grew up with who won’t even make eye contact with you in the grocery store since he mysteriously stopped coming to church.
The elderly shut-in woman who went out of her way to not only cut you with her words, but spewed her venom loud enough that a crowded room heard it all has recently became a widow.
WHAT ABOUT THEM?
You see them, too. Don’t you?
Surely I’m not the only one surrounded by people matching not only the above descriptions, but so many more. Hurting people. Broken people. Struggling people. Prideful people. Angry people. Neglected people.
People crying out in the most reclusive or rejective ways for help.
HOW DO WE RESPOND?
Many people seem to respond to their behavior rather than their pleas for help.
But I look at these people, truly look at them, and try to see the world, myself, as it must appear from their perspective.
And I see a reflection of myself, not in what they see, but in the eye I’m looking out of. I have been each of those individuals in one way or another. I have cried out in all the wrong ways for help, too.
All I ever wanted was someone to push back against my boundaries and do something to help me. Something. Anything.
And I wonder, when I hear people tell me not to get involved, to mind my own business. What has happened to the our feet of compassion?
Can we really stand by and watch as our fellow brothers and sisters struggle just to make it through another moment, let alone another day?
CAN WE REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
What if I carry their groceries out? Am I lifting one small burden of their almost broken back?
What if I drop off one of MY bags of groceries on their front porch with a note of encouragement?
What if I simply look him in the eye, stretch out my hand, and honestly tell him how much I’ve missed talking to him?
What if I volunteer to mentor that child? Pick them up once a week or so just to do something they would like to do. Maybe even offer to wash their clothes while we hang out.
What if I give the zoo family pass I have to the waitress? Will a day out with her kids that has no price tag attached help her create memories?
What if I pick up the shut-in widow for church next Sunday? Can I set down my pride to relieve some of her pain?
I can do any one of those things without sacrificing much time or money. Yet the impact of the gesture would echo around my community.
Compassion freely given or stingily withheld creates the community we are leaving for our children and grandchildren.
We can choose not to get involved and mind our business by doing nothing, or we can choose to get involved and mind our own business by showing compassion to those God places in our path. Either way, we ARE involved and we did make a very specific choice.
View the other #1000Speaks posts on compassion HERE.
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