Seeing a need

Wow, it could almost seem as though I’ve given up … but I haven’t 🙂

For a week GGHQ was broadband-and-phone-less due to a fault that needed some vital piece of unavailable kit … it has to be said that some members of the family were less traumatised than others!  For me it was lovely having no calls to answer and no internet to distract me during the day … for the Junior GGs however, it seemed as though the world was ending as we faced dramatic sighs, exaggerated huffs of “How loooong will it take?”, the occasional stomp and even a door slam or two!

Normal service was resumed in time for Christmas day which explains my continued absence … time with Mr GG and the Junior GGs is precious and so the Love Dare and blog were set to the side (but not forgotten!).

As our broadband was slowly fizzling to nothing I was writing about Day 14.  The subject was compassion so, rather than read ahead and write about several days at once I decided to take a break and focus on what compassion means to me.  Now I have an opportunity to write and post I find that I’m scrapping all I’d originally written and starting again!

I guess I would like to think of myself as compassionate but, really, what does that truly mean?  It’s easy to watch something and feel pity, it’s easy to think about bad things that have happened to people and feel sad for them.  But is that compassion?  I don’t think so.  In recent weeks we’ve read and watched countless news reports about flooding here in the UK.  Different areas have been flooded and just yesterday we watched the sad sight of a beautiful old stone bridge in Yorkshire being washed away.  People have been left homeless or had to watch helplessly as their life’s work was washed away.  Heartbreaking.  It’s hard to watch reports like this and not feel something, anything at all.  But is that compassion?  I don’t think so.

I believe compassion spurs us into action.  Talking with a dear friend who lives in Cumbria, one of the areas hit hard with flooding, I was really challenged by listening to her talking about groups of people (from churches and other organisations) getting together to form work parties helping people who had been flooded … so much work has to be done.  The work parties have been helping to strip out old units from kitchens which have been destroyed, helping to salvage anything that can be saved from houses and helping people begin to look ahead.  I heard about people swapping houses so that someone living alone in a family house would move into somewhere smaller leaving their house for a family that had been flooded.  That’s compassion!

To be fair, it’s not always possible to be so practical but there is always something we can do.  I guess compassion is seeing a need around you and reaching out to meet it in some way, by donating time, money or goods or in some other way.  I’ve long been an advocate of practical help … providing a meal if someone is ill or hurt, or sometimes just because you’ve got a feeling that it’s the right thing to do.  I’d totally encourage anyone to follow their instincts … it’s only recently I’ve learned not to be discouraged by others putting me off by saying I’d be in the way because, in my experience, people are generally touched to know that someone is thinking of them.  It’s not for everyone though and I realise that … it’s a personal decision and there is no right or wrong way to display compassion … but I truly believe compassion spurs action.

The dare for Day 14 was to seek out opportunities to display compassion to my boys.  Having extra time has been great because I’ve really been able to consider how things affect each of the boys individually … taking opportunities to bake with a stressed boy or spend time playing MarioKart with a boy feeling lonely (they don’t like me playing MarioKart though, apparently I’m too competitive!) or spend one to one time with a boy upset about something.   It’s not exactly a dare that can be ticked off as ‘done’ … I mean, how can we ever say “Well, that’s all the compassion they’ll need” … it’s a life long process … just as well because I’ve still not cracked it!  I’m a work in progress thankfully.

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