I was out on my walk as usual today. As I walked over a bridge, I passed the remnants of a homeless camp in the flood wash below. I found myself thinking about compassion.
So many people think that compassion means throwing a few bucks at a cause for people halfway around the world, but I can't help but feel that is more of a way to assuage personal guilt than to actually care. It doesn't take a whole lot of compassion to write a check. It’s a nice gesture and might really help someone, but it’s very different than looking another person in the eyes and helping their day be a little bit better.
Compassion is not only helping someone in a less fortunate situation than your own. Compassion is thinking of other people, especially when you get nothing out of it personally. Compassion is found in everyday things like opening a door for someone else to enter before you when you are at the store or acknowledging with a thank you when someone else does it for you. It's making sure that you are not in someone else's blind spot when you're driving or using your blinker. It's about turning down your radio at the gas station. It's taking care of your children medically so that other people's children don't get sick because of yours or teaching your children how to behave in public so they aren’t a nuisance. Compassion is 100% about thinking of the other people around you as you go through your everyday life.
Maybe the solution to our selfish and litigious society has been within our grasp all along and our society just forgot the lesson taught by our grandparents.
Think of the other guy and not just yourself. It’s that simple.
No one's going to say that it will be easy. Chances are pretty good you won't get anything out of it at first and there is even the chance that there will be selfish people who will forever be happy to take advantage of your compassion, but don’t give up hope that people will see your example and the resulting happiness that comes from it. Maybe someday the other guy will be looking out for you as well.
- S Chavez