I have appreciated reading what you all have written in response to the question of the week. As I have followed you on Facebook, I have identified more questions I see us wrestling with, as we struggle to understand the greatest obstacles to living out a compassionate life.
Here are a few additional questions: Will my compassion make a difference? Will the gift of my compassion be appreciated? Will giving the gift make life harder for me? If so, how much more difficult will my life be, as a result of giving this gift? Am I correct in my assumptions about how compassion should be shared with this person? Will my compassion make another too reliant upon the generosity of others? Will I be viewed by this person as trying to save them or rescue them?
Thinking about all of these questions causes me to recall one of the first times I ever remember living out of compassion. My family was in Washington D.C. We had just gone into a shoe store and my parents had purchased a brand new pair of neon pink Converse for me (Yes, this was supposed to be cool in the 80’s). As we walked out of the store and began our trek back to our hotel, I saw a man sitting on a blanket begging for money. I remember being confused because this wasn’t something I encountered in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The man obviously hadn’t showered for days; His face wasn’t cleanly shaven; He looked malnourished. As my family walked by him, I stared and read his cardboard sign asking for money. After we had passed the man, I tugged on my mother’s hand and asked for a couple of dollars. She looked at me for a moment, asked what the money was for, and then pulled out some cash when she heard my response. As soon as the money was in my hand, I ran back to the man to give him all the cash I had been given.
The day this happened none of the aforementioned questions went through my mind… and I am not sure whether this is a blessing or a curse. Either way, I would like to learn how to live more freely with what I have and become a more compassionate person.