Compassion: One Small Act at a Time

picjumbo.com_HNCK9105Compassion. The world needs a lot of it.

Weeks ago, I walked down an unfamiliar street not far from my early morning appointment.

On my route, there lay a man curled up on his side in front of a closed restaurant.

His head rested on layers of compressed cardboard, the only softness to his cement street-bed.

His body faced the wall as a shredded t-shirt exposed his muddy back.

Two crudely chopped pieces of car tires strapped to the bottom of his feet remained the only protection between his soles and the ground.

The thunderstorms of the previous day must not have been kind to this man.

Not just any man. This man had a name:

Someone’s Child.

Or maybe Someone’s Husband?

Or Brother?

Or Father?

Or Somebody’s Someone.

Cars whizzed as commuters rushed through yellow lights and crosswalks.

Someone’s Child remained still.

A buzz of people walked by, doing their daily side-step around the figure on the way to their jobs.

Certainly, they needed to find a means to pay for a roof over their heads to keep dry during the storms.

I vowed to stop by the take out place down the street to buy Someone’s Child a sandwich with the few dollars I had in my bag.

After all, a little bit of kindness might help Someone’s Child.

As I continued on my walk, I ran across another man in a similar situation.

There sat another Someone’s Child.

Then there was another…and another…and another…

Within the few blocks I walked, I passed by dozens of Someone’s Children.

I felt disheartened. My few dollars couldn’t buy sandwiches for all of them.

It wasn’t possible.

What could I do?

After a moment, I decided to do what I could with one small act.

I bought one sandwich.

Then I quietly gave it to Someone’s Child.

As I passed by the rest of Someone’s Children without food to give, I smiled and greeted each one of them with a, “Good morning!”

Some answered in kind. Some didn’t say anything at all.

It was all I could give. It was all I could do for the moment.

I couldn’t save the whole world, but I could do a few small things.

It would just have to do.

Shunryu Suzuki said, “Our way to practice is one step at a time, one breath at a time.”

While disheartened from feeling like I didn’t do enough, I’m learning to accept that doing good in the world may be accomplished…

…One. Step. At. A. Time.

I can’t feed every hungry Someone’s Child on the street. But, perhaps I can feed one or two.

I can’t lift up every downtrodden person, or hold every hand, but I can help at least a few.

You see, while my two hands can’t save the world, it can help a few.

Then I got to thinking…

If every pair of hands in the world did a little bit to uplift someone else, the effects could ultimately change the world.

It’s just how it works.

So, I’m curious…what are you doing to change the world?

Please answer in the comments below.

Have a fantastic day!











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