Compassion: From the backseat

December 2017 Posted in Other

Elyse 201 BWDuring a shopping trip to Salem, my seven-year-old was sitting in the backseat and made a discovery. At seven, most kids are really developing their reading and writing skills and as a side effect, becoming more aware of signs. She had seen a woman next to the stop sign with a sign indicating she needed money and was homeless.

“MOM!!! That sign says she is homeless! Does she really not have a home?….” She exclaimed.

And then the tears came. Big rolling tears and she kept looking back at the intersection where the lady was standing.

And then the questions came.

“But where does she sleep at night? What does that mean? Why would anyone let that happen to her?… That’s not right!”

I chose my words carefully. “No, it’s not right”. And then I struggled for the next words.

Does she need to know that sometimes people will panhandle that have other jobs or homes and cars? Does she need to know that sometimes people will use the money for things like drugs or alcohol? Does she need to know how carefully we watch our own expenses? Does any of that really matter?

I said “Yes, you are right. That shouldn’t happen. Would you like to try and help? How would you like to help?”

She had just earned $5. It was her only $5 and she wanted to give it to the woman. How is that for a humanity lesson?

The conversation would continue through out the evening and kept her awake at night when it was time to go to bed. I will admit it: the questions kept me awake at night as well.

It only takes a few moments of raw emotions to remind us that we are part of something bigger, that we are struggling together, that we always have more to give.

I’m going to keep my heart open a little wider this holiday season. Every time I find a way to share, my child is watching me share. Every time we receive and give thanks, she will too. Perhaps our new year’s resolution will be to see how much growth and humanity we can develop together.

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