" We cannot touch another's heart with anything less than our own."
July 10, 1980 - I sat at my father's bedside holding his hand as he quietly slipped into a coma. His last words were "Thank you".
We have all lost a loved one, and if you haven't yet, you will. In 1980 - Big Sis and I lost our Father to man's greatest enemy: death.
Okay, so why the title of this post? Because the last 10 days of his life, was spent at my home. Our days and nights were consumed with caring for him, and we didn't resent any of it. Our Father earned every ounce of our respect.
It wasn't just me, it was my sister and step-mom as well. A dear friend had arranged for our meals to be cared for. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were provided by multiple loving hands every day. So much so, that when friends and family came to visit Dad we always had something to offer them. Every day someone different would come and visit.
When I was informed that they had made an announcement at our place of worship that volunteers were needed to bring food to our house, I promptly responded that it wasn't necessary. "We can manage." I didn't want to be a burden.....I will never forget my friend's reply...even writing this brings tears to my eyes.
"We all loved your Dad and we love you and your family. When the announcement was made that a sign-up list was available to those that want to help, the line was so long it went around the interior room, out the door and into the parking lot. Let us do this please. We need to do this."
I know that my story is not unique. Everyone in this world, if they live long enough will lose a loved one - or two - or three.....and it never gets any easier. My wish for all of you is, if or when, you experience the loss of someone you love, that you have ones in your life that will envelop you with the same loving kindness we experienced. Ones that will be patient and gentile as you work through the grief. Ones that will greave silently with you, because sometimes there are just no words.
So much more can be said on having and showing compassion. The above, my friends, is but one example of Love at it's Finest.
Compassion involves allowing ourselves to be moved by suffering, and experiencing the motivation to help alleviate and prevent it. An act of compassion is defined by its helpfulness. Qualities of compassion are patience and wisdom; kindness and perseverance; warmth and resolve. It is often, though not inevitably, the key component in what manifests in the social context as altruism. The difference between sympathy and compassion is that the former responds to others' suffering with sorrow and concern whereas the latter responds with warmth and care. An article by the Clinical Psychology Review suggests that "compassion consists of three facets: noticing, feeling, and responding." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compassion
When I saw the graphic I used for this post by John Hain, I understood its message. All of us will go through traumatic times. The loss of a loved one. A life threatening health diagnoses. Losing our livelihood or our home, physical or emotional abuse.....and so it goes.
We become fragile, unstable, depressed, lost, feeling abandoned or unloved, and so on. It is during those times that we need support from others the most. We need friendship, compassion, understanding and perhaps patience because difficult times can skew our thinking.
"No man is an island" - No one is self-sufficient. Every one of us rely on others in some way. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. So I challenge you today to reach out and offer your "hand" to someone that could benefit from your kindness and compassion. When you do so, it must come from your heart, We show compassion because we want to, not out of a sense of obligation.
I guarantee you, my friends, that you won't regret it.
Photo by: John Hain