My mom once told me that "compassion" was my gift and talent. I thought that idea was bull crap! I was young and must of been complaining about why I couldn't sing like Tammy Kelly (my best friend at the time) or have the looks of my neighbor Stacey! (Damn her for her long flowing brown hair!) My mom went on to tell me that I was "Always looking out for the underdog" and apparently *that* was a good thing. Gag. What little kid wants the "gift of compassion" ?? I probably didn't even know what looking out for the underdog meant.
Now that I'm older and hopefully a bit wiser, I do know what that means. I have also found out that "mothers are always right" heh heh ...well mostly:)Compassion is my gift. And I don't take it lightly. But it is not something I find reason to brag about nor is it something that I want to show off. Infact, it can be a curse. In order to explain that further...I must include my friend "Thesaurus"
Compassion: Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.
And there you have it! In reading that definition, I found myself sighing. Why? Because its a painful gift. And my mind just flashed through all sorts of memories of why it's painful.
#1- I was in Mexico a few short months ago. I found myself wandering the streets with my best friend...trying to find a place to eat. In our walk I spotted a horse chained up to a small carriage. He looked visibly weak and fraile, and obviously thirsty and hungry. His skin and bone body worn down by the beating sun, and by the hands of his owner, who took on the look of a brash and heavy task master. I have never noticed to this capacity...the sorrow of an animal. I truly felt it in my heart. And my heart ached. I found my eyes filling with tears and my heart pounding with the injustice of his situation. But what could I do? I walked closer...spoke softly to him...and gave him a small pat. And then I had to walk away.
#2 I joined some friends at recent get together of sorts. I didn't know half the people there...and I wasn't in the mood to be social. They had a large table filled to the max with mexican food...and I was starving. As I had just started towards the food, I felt eyes peering into the back of my head. I slowly turned around to find a very tall sort of goofy looking person. It became obvious that he was the "odd ball" in the crowd. And I knew immediately what I needed to do. He needed a friend. And I chose to be that friend. I had the gut feeling that he had already made the rounds...probably being dismissed quickly by the turn of a shoulder. His awkward words and laugh (that came at all the wrong times) could make anyone uncomfortable. But I understood him. I knew what it felt like to be painfully shy, to be the new kid on the block, to be the "odd ball". I think everyone has walked that road at least once. And I think everyone knows that it's NOT fun. I remembered that feeling...and tried to help bring ease to that moment. The mexican food was gone by the time I had come back to it. But I didn't mind. I have often found...that by easing another persons burden...you ease your own.
Compassion is not always something big...infact, it usually is the small things. Taking time to SEE with different eyes. To hear what people are NOT saying. Stepping outside of your own world...and becoming aware of the suffering and needs of others. And then...rising to the occasion.
Would I trade compassion for a voice like Annie Lennox or long thick brown hair? hmmm. maybe! hahah No.....I wouldn't.
My mom was right...compassion is a gift. And like I said, I never take gifts lightly. :) My mom is the greatest example of a woman of compassion. She is a Mother Teresa in her own realm.. And I admire her for her quiet acts of love, sacrifice and service to the countless people who have crossed her path. She truly follows the Savior when he gave the counsel to "Succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees."
Happy Mothers day, mom! I love your guts! :)