Some months ago we had a brainstorming session to plan upcoming Moments of Motivation. Back and forth we tossed idea after idea and came up with 20 or so possibilities to twist into some memorable phrase to accompany some cute imagery and add to upcoming motivation meme releases. Among them was “Be passionate about being compassionate.” Certainly a memorable phrase and certainly easy enough to depict. Yet when working up the release calendar for all those nuggets of inspiration, that one didn’t get a date. On weeks when we felt the earlier scheduled post wasn’t what we wanted to highlight that week, we’d search for, or generate a new one, but “Be passionate about being compassionate” remained on the sideline. After a while it was decided that time had come for it to see the light of day so to speak, and it was scheduled to be a Moment of Motivation. And then it didn’t. It seemed something just wasn’t right, something was missing. And then we realized what it was. Compassion isn’t just for a moment. It deserves more than a pithy saying and cute graphic. It wants a discussion. It wants action!
The most appropriate description that we were able to find comes from Compassion International who include “a tangible expression of love for those who are suffering” in their definition. Compassion isn’t just feeling bad for somebody having a difficult time, or a desire to help someone in need. Compassion is an act! Etymologically, compassion is rooted in the Latin “com-“ meaning with or together and “pati,” meaning to bear or to suffer. And so, compassion literally means to suffer with, or to bear together - not just wanting to help but getting out there and doing something!
This is a wonderful time of year to discuss compassion. Spring, the period of renewal, begs for helping hands to achieve its fullness. With the many religious holidays that Spring brings, many people are already in a state of introspection and considering the best ways to celebrate the joys these holidays commemorate. What better way to celebrate joy brought about by deep, thoughtful experiences than by helping those who are suffering, by offering some tangible expression of love?
One day during a call to catch up and see how life outside of ROAMcare was going, we talked about a routine Michael just began that demonstrates compassion during our Easter season. Each day during Lent, he sets aside some item, an article of clothing rarely reached for in the morning, a small appliance not often used, a pair of shoes relegated to the back of the closet by newer purchases, or some other “excess” item in our lives that can be an “essential” item for someone in need. At Easter, these are packed up and brought to a homeless shelter, offered to church’s distribution list for a needy family, donated to a charity’s thrift shop, or in some other way seen that they find their ways to somebody suffering where they may bring some measure of comfort. This is a small example of something that barely meets the spirit of compassion but it demonstrates that you can express compassion for, and act with love towards even those you do not know. Although this involves physical items, compassionate actions don’t have to include material goods. A helping hand is just as tangible as a meal or a pair of shoes if it provides comfort to the recipient.
It may have taken us a brainstorming session and then weeks of further consideration before we figured out what to do with the catchy phrase, “be passionate about being compassionate.” We hope this quick discussion convinces you not to take as long to actually be passionate about being compassionate and to demonstrate a tangible expression of love for someone who is suffering. All it takes is the desire to do something that will alleviate somebody’s suffering and then do it, to act to bring someone comfort and then act on it, to love enough to make someone feel that you care.
Do. Act. Love. And be passionate about being compassionate.