‘Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.” Confucius
I would like to think of myself as a compassionate person. It’s a positive value that I know is a good thing. But if I stop to think about the last time I put into action actually being compassionate, I find myself running through a list of activities and wondering if they count? Does tithing at church make me a compassionate person even though the Bible says I’m already supposed to be giving? Was I compassionate when I gave the homeless guy on the corner my last five dollar bill or was that the least I could do to help without feeling guilty? Perhaps I was compassionate when I helped the elderly ladies at the movie theater get a few cups of water so they didn’t have to get back up. But if I’m honest, I feel a little embarrassed that I’m not doing more to actually practice compassion on a regular basis. Our busy lives leave us running from one activity to the next without much thought.
Recently, I was told that practicing compassion is like learning to ride a bike. The man who shared the advice was a long time volunteer at a local animal shelter, and he was trying to make the case to just start somewhere and you’ll get better at being compassionate the more you do. I have since thought of his advice and think he’s right. Perhaps becoming more compassionate requires more than practice, but making it a habit of daily looking for opportunities to put into action what we believe is an important value.
On Saturday, May 13th, the 25th annual Stamp Out
Hunger campaign will take place across the country in nearly 10,000 U.S. cities and towns. Letter carriers will be picking up non-perishable food donations left at mailboxes to be delivered to local food pantries. But the National Association of Letter Carriers says it is picking up much this weekend than just food but also the compassion and kindness from neighbors.
When I heard that letter carriers would be picking up compassion, I realized this was a great way for each of us to do something little and put into practice being compassionate. So this weekend, I challenge and encourage all of us who wish we were more compassionate people to actually become compassion filled people. Do you have a few cans in your cupboard you can donate? Do you have time to run to the grocery to pick up some food donations? Let’s go do it. And while we’ll be joining a national movement to help the more than 50 million in the United States who are hungry, we’ll also be becoming the very people we hoped we would become too.
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