Have compassion for people even when they don’t deserve it. In fact, have compassion for people ESPECIALLY when they don’t deserve it because that’s when they need your compassion the most.”
I remember watching a special olympics many years ago when a child with disabilities was falling behind the others. All the others stopped, turned around, and joined the one lagging behind so that they all crossed the finish line together.
I remember how moving it was to see these children treat each other with such compassion and care.
Another story comes to mind between a father and his son. The son, wanting the father's attention, was tugging on his arm. The father, firmly and lovingly, put his arm around his son and pulled him onto his lap while continuing the conversation in which he was engaged. Then, with love and tenderness, he told his son that he would have to wait a few minutes and then he would give him his full attention. The son sat on his father's knee patiently. Then, when the father completed the conversation with the other adult, he turned to his son and said, “Okay, my son. Now what can I do for you?”
To me, it is sad that I have many more memories of parents speaking harshly to their children, admonishing them without any compassion. Forgetting that the child does not understand all the things the adult has going on in their lives. Forgetting that the young child doesn't understand a few minutes or in a half hour. Forgetting that the young child wants and needs real connection.
Many years ago in a workshop, the facilitator asked us to stand facing someone and each say to the other, “I see you. You're just like me.” Similar to the practice from last week, imagining that we are just like the other person with the same hopes and fears, saying these two short sentences reminds us of our connection. And from the connection comes compassion.
Another version of this comes from a common saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” We'll use this idea as the focus of the practice for this week.
No one has ever become poor by giving.”
– Anne Frank
As always, write privately or post a comment on the blog as you experiment with this practice.