One dictionary defines compassion as sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.
I have been blessed many times in my life by the compassion of others. I remember when my beautiful, incredible daughter was born. She was 13 weeks early and I had been in the hospital for several weeks. I was scared. My tiny, fragile, amazing daughter was lying in an incubator with iv’s, machines and wires all over the place. Medical words and terms were included in every conversation and I often felt overwhelmed with trying to understand it all or to make informed decisions. I remember the compassion of the nurses, who took the time to explain things, to understand the emotions, the fear that accompanied seeing your child, your tiny child fighting for her life. Their compassion helped carry me through. Whether it was bringing me a glass of water, or a warm blanket, taking a minute to say hello and let me know how my daughter was doing and what progress was made.It was the extra time they took to hold her hand and straighten her tiny stuffed animals we had placed at the end of her incubator that helped me feel she was being well cared for. It was the compassion they showed that brings warmth to my heart as I reflect on that memory.
My mom has alway been a strong example of compassion for me. When my dad’s mom was sick and nearing the end of her life, I saw my mom compassionately and lovingly care for her. I saw her rise to a level of service and devotion to her mother in law that has made her as great an example of compassion in my life as any story from the scriptures or motivational speaker. My mom lives her life with compassion for others, spending hours on the phone bringing friendship to a lonely senior or preparing cards to mail just to brighten someones day. She cooks meals for the sick, and drives others to doctors appointments or drops off groceries. She never realizes how many lives she touches, mainly because she is busy thinking about the next one in need. I love this about my mom. I am blessed by her compassion for others.
I have seen examples of compassion from my closest friends, my family, church members and community. Each blessing the lives of myself and others. After my brothers accident I was touched by the compassion of many of his nurses, care workers, co workers, students and friends. There was an outpouring of love through hundreds of small acts. The compassion of others brought great comfort during a time of crisis.
I remember with each act of compassion shown to me, the relief, comfort and peace that it brought during a time of distress. I think I am kind of selfish in the reason I love my job. It is an incredible feeling to know I can spend my day being a moment of comfort in someone elses. Sometimes working in Health care there is more focus on the Health than the Care. I love the Care part of my job. I love the bringing a glass of water, fluffing your pillow, helping you be as comfortable as possible while dealing with your health part, of my job. I think it is because I know how much of a difference those things can make. I like trying to make that difference in my patients lives and the lives of their families during this time of crisis. I get to spend my days or nights performing acts of kindness. I come home from work more invigorated and energized then I was when I started the shift.
Research has shown that performing an act of kindness not only releases endorphines in the brains of the person receiving the act of kindness but also of the person performing it, and anyone witnessing it. So no matter what is going on in a persons life, an act of kindness will make their lives better. Sometimes it may be only a moment, but it still makes their mood, their life, their health better for that moment. I am blessed by the opportunity to meet, get to know, help care for a wonderful hospital unit of patients and their families. I am grateful for the blessing of being touched by their strengths, their lives, their stories, their personalities. Sometimes the communication is hearing your life story, with others it is simply holding your hand while you have a sip of water or try to fall asleep. I am grateful that I get to spend a moment getting to know you, that I can be there to comfort you and bring a smile.
The Dhali Llama said “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion, if you want to be happy, practice compassion”…