Happy Thanksgiving Day. This was the one holiday I could truly live without when I was young. The endless cooking, the football, and the clean-up was just too much. My sister makes us start the feast by sharing something from this year that we were grateful for. Over the years, as relatives, friends, and first-time acquaintances expressed their gratitude I learned about their struggles, faith, hope, and love. The authenticity of their expressions made me rethink Thanks Giving.
Come with me on a 7-Day Season of Giving Thanks starting with being thankful for compassion.
I learned true compassion the evening my father died. There are no memories of the drive home to pack, who drove me to the airport, or even the flight home.
What stands out from that night is my interactions with people. Didn’t they know my dad was gone? Of course not; but it affected everything about me. The isolation was gut-wrenching. It was transformed when I saw my brother (in-law) waiting at the bottom of that long airport escalator. He knew; everything he said, did, and didn’t do was pure compassion.
Since then, I attempt to practice a technique learned from a professor: “Never assume, always look for an alternative reason.” That cashier wasn’t rude to ME; she was thinking about her son who was fighting cancer. That driver didn’t cut ME off; he was rushing because if was late once more he would lose his job. Alternative reasons gave me the ability to show compassion instead of reaction.
What about you? Are you not only able to act with compassion; are you allowing others to know what compassion you need? I hope so.