1000 Posts for Compassion
Updated: haha I posted a month early! I guess I’ll be back doing this again on Feb. 20, the real date. I don’t mind. More kindness and compassion is better than less.
Today I’m joining with 999 other bloggers to fill the internet with posts about compassion and kindness, so now I guess I have to say something profound.
Compassion comes from a the root words meaning “to suffer with.” Suffering. The last thing we ever want to do. The thing we try to avoid at all costs. If we want to be compassionate, though, we suffer with.
Suffer with. Be with. Sit with. Share in the moments where certainty is not given. Breathe. Pray. Hold. Hold on.
Everything in modern America tells us not to do this. Run away! Take a drink. A pill. A vacation. Get away. Make an inspirational quote photo. Do anything to get the hell away from that pain.
I dated a guy who had a stroke when he was about the age I am now. Not a devastating one, but serious enough to require a cardiac pacemaker due to heart damage brought on by years of untreated high blood pressure. He had no health insurance, so he had to go to our county hospital, a creaky old place with no air conditioning.
There was a more modern hospital across the road, but there was no way he could afford it. I was afraid the care he got at County would be sub-par, but what was there to do? To top it off, he was terrified. He had never suspected, until he had the stroke, that he was in any way unwell. He was in shock.
A nurse who looked to be about 45 came in to the hospital on her day off. She had heard about his situation. She told him that she, too, had a cardiac pacemaker. She told him she had felt scared and devastated by her heart problems, certain she would never be the same. She pulled back her shirt collar and let him run his fingers over her pacemaker, right there under her skin. She explained that the pacemaker allowed her to continue her life much as it had been before.
The nurse gave him exactly the care he needed at that moment – the experience only someone else with a pacemaker could share. She had the compassion to come in when she didn’t have to because she knew there was a human in need. He was instantly better, calmer, ready. She had given him something the most modern hospital couldn’t offer – a light on the path, shone by a human soul.