Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Practice Compassion

I did something nice today. And it warmed my heart on a day when I was feeling nothing but cold.

The opportunity appeared quickly and two possibilities flashed through my mind. Skip it and move on with my very busy day or take 5 minutes and do something.

I'm so glad I chose the latter.

For me to do it was not much effort at all, but I know the person I helped was really appreciative.

I think the reason I jumped at the opportunity can be easily traced back to a moment from last week while I was sitting at a rest stop on my way up to Utica, NY. I was quickly eating a slice of pizza when I noticed one, then two, then three, four, five soldiers in uniform on line at the fast food place in front of where I was sitting. My immediate thought was - "Oh, I should go pay for their lunch."

In my moment of hesitation, someone else stepped in. A man who had just paid for his own meal approached the first soldier in line and I am assuming informed the cashier that he would be paying for his meal. (I was far enough away that I couldn't tell EXACTLY what was being said.) But, it was crystal clear what was going on. He paid for that soldier's meal. And then the next one. And then the next one. And so on and so on.

As I watched this unfold, the tears welled up in my eyes. What a privilege to a be a witness to such kindness.

So, this week when I saw my own opportunity for kindness I just couldn't let it pass.

I won't reveal what it is I did because that's not what it was about. Let's just say that I think my kindness recipient was pretty happy, but I don't think that person's happiness was anything compared to my own.

And my day is perfectly captured in this gem from the Dalai Lama...
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

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