I’ve always thought I was a compassionate guy. I give to charity work, I actually do charity work, I talk to other people about helping with charity work, when I see someone in a bad situation I want to help and often do. I’ve always taught my kids the difference between sympathy and empathy. And if I do say so myself, I was always pretty good at those things, especially if it involved writing a check and sending it somewhere to help a large group of needy people.
But I haven’t always been very good at one-to-one compassion. I haven’t been very good at noticing when someone needs a little touch of human compassion. Even when it’s just as simple as quietly listening when someone needs to know they are being heard. I just haven’t been a very compassionate guy.
Today, that changes though. I got a nice gentle firsthand look at how easy it can be, and how rewarding it can be, to just put myself in the other guy’s shoes for a little and be compassionate.
One of the musicians I’m working with this weekend walked over to me during a break and told me he noticed I seemed to be a little more quiet and distracted and distant than normal. And then he offered to pray with me. So simple, but SO profound in the moment. Once I got over the initial “shock” we prayed together and my heavy heart was a little lighter. And looking back on it, here’s what I learned from this simple bit of compassion.
- He paid attention to the people around him.
- He paid attention to my body language and the message it was sending.
- He made it a point to humbly and gently approach me.
- He offered to help in whatever way he could right then and there.
Frankly, I’ve never been very good at any of the things I listed right above. But starting today, I choose to make it better. I choose to be a tiny bit more compassionate.
And who knows…maybe someday I’ll be the guy someone is writing about, teaching about being compassionate by simply BEING compassionate. Thanks Joel!