I was talking to a newfound friend who was telling me that a couple of years ago, she suddenly found herself in dire straits when her then partner, unbeknown to her, cleaned out their entire bank account prior to ending their long-term relationship. To make matters worse, he left the country, went overseas, leaving her to ‘somehow’ fund mortgage repayments on the home that she and her ex-partner were still in the process of building.
When word in the community spread as to what had happened to my friend and the predicament that she had been left in, a most wonderful thing occurred. Family and friends banded together and worked day and night, weekends too, to help her finish building the home.
In a short space of time, the work was complete and the house sold during the first home open which allowed my friend to pay off the mortgage and begin life anew.
What prompted such kind and good-hearted actions from so many people? Compassion; compassion for the heart-ache and suffering of another.
This is what compassion is about. Compassion goes beyond emotions such as sympathy and empathy. It’s the action that follows the feeling of empathy. Through compassion, we ‘step into the shoes’ of another and in feeling what they are going through, we are prompted to take action to help or comfort them.
The good news is, compassion doesn’t always involve big actions on our part. In fact, it’s usually the small acts of kindness which bring a whole lot of brightness to someone’s day.
Simple actions such as taking the time to be with someone who is distressed; offering them a kind word, a smile, a helping hand, can be so helpful to the person. The action of sending a loving text message or making a phone call to someone you know who is going through a tough time or cooking a meal for an unwell friend—once again, these small actions mean a lot to people because through them, we show the person that we care about them.
As we travel the journey of life together, holding compassion for each other is what makes life a rich, beautiful and rewarding experience. It’s what changes us as individuals as compassion teaches us to go beyond ourselves into the heart of another and when we enter their heart, we find that they, too, like us, endure times of suffering and what eases suffering in all of us, is the gentle medicine of compassion.
Compassion mends, fixes and heals hearts.