On Saturday, after I finished watching the show at The American Adventure at EPCOT, I was leaving the theatre and saw this statue. It was the Statue of the Spirit of Compassion and this got me to thinking. Although we see enormous amounts of compassion in the Bring Smiles to Seniors program, it seems that in other parts of our world compassion has become somewhat passé. Is it that we have become such a “me” society that compassion takes a back seat to everything else? Or is it that we don’t see dividends from the effort, so we just fail to be compassionate?
Sometimes, I wonder if technology has not played a part in this shift away from compassion. The art of conversation is harder to find as we now communicate in ways that have made non-verbal interaction obsolete. It is easy not to care when you don’t have to stare the other person in the eye. It is also easier to have what would have otherwise been considered bad behavior, as there are usually no consequences from interacting with a machine.
One of the things instilled in me most during my upbringing was compassion for other people. Those who were less fortunate than me, those that had been dealt bad hands in life and those who just could not fend for themselves. I was taught compassion for the elderly, the disabled and compassion for my fellow person no matter what their status in life. When that becomes a part of who you are, then it takes no effort to show compassion. You just do it naturally.
Very few people realize the intangible rewards of compassion. Think about the last time you did something nice for someone. How long did that good feeling stay with you? Whether you held open a door, cared for someone who was sick, or simply held someone’s hand to help them through a difficult situation. The good that those things do for the heart and soul may not be easily recognizable at the moment, but the long term effects they have on shaping who we become are amazing.
There is no doubt that compassion is still alive, even if we have to look a little harder to find it. The best part is it usually is free and only requires an act or a gesture that requires very little effort. We all have a responsibility to ensure that compassion never dies. As long as it lives within us, it never will.
Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles today!