When I saw this picture come across my Facebook feed late last night, I saw a story, a compassion story, and felt compelled to write about it. I awoke with it still on my mind. So, snuggled up in my oversized worn-out reflective chair, with warm cup of coffee in hand I await the flow. When I first looked at this picture I only saw children and a puppet show. I saw the brilliance of art. Art, poetry, music, theater, painting, the place where spirit meets flesh and gives creative fists to compassion. Art, where our senses are awakened and our emotions take over. It is with art that our defenses make way and the door is opened to our authenticity. In this real moment love flows. When I showed this picture to my husband, I said "Isn’t this beautiful?", and he replied, "Yes, and sad." I immediately realized, that is the connection of compassion; beauty and sorrow. A kind hand reaching out to the hurting. A puppet show for war torn children. A moment of laughter in days of fears and tears. We, as compassionate souls, offer those moments which, though fleeting, are life saving. We may not be able to hold a puppet show in the desert but we can sure be the hands that lift our neighbor out of their dry and battled places. I’ve seen dozens of these pictures of Syria destroyed and hopeless, but only this one of children and a simple puppet show has given wings to my hope. We live in a time where every day may seem like a battlefield. We live in a time when certain evil wants to uproot children from hospital beds and send them off to certain death. These times may seem unbearable. The only saving grace is to find your own way to put on a puppet show in the most unlikely place, to reach out with a hug, with a call, with a heart of love. To look at the light and call out the darkness. Call me Pollyanna if you must, but I am totally believing love will conquer hate and as a unified compassion army we will do it one small act at a time.....believe!
When you are discussing compassion you need to understand it’s opposite. I have come to believe that the opposite of compassion is fundamentalism.
Today the battle lines are drawn between those who would adhere to a strict line of rules or laws and those who adhere to love. Love covers a multitude of sin, fundamentalism condemns. Love accepts, fundamentalism rejects. Compassion sees the broken down and reaches out to help, where fundamentalism says ‘if you are broken down, you probably got what you deserve.’ There is no mercy, no grace, no grey area and the driving force in fundamentalism is fear. You see the results of this belief in most mass shootings, in 9/11, in ethnic superiority and in male dominated societies.
There are both religious and cultural fundamentalists. Anyone who believes they are essentially right and shows no sign of budging is a fundamentalist. They claim right to country, to God, to cultural mores, and cannot experience empathy. They cause great harm in our world. And yet the truth is these people need compassion the most. They cling to fundamentalism out of hurt and fear and loneliness. By choosing us over them we are exacerbating the problem. I’ve been trying lately to just ignore the top layer of their rhetoric and picture the hurting child who wants love and can’t seem to get or accept it. I see their actions, though sometimes horrible, as a symptom of a disease and compassion as the saving balm. It’s tough because I despise the racism, Nazism, ethnocentrism, but my negative reaction only accelerates the fire. Only love cools the flames. I’ve been an activist and a hothead my whole life. But at this phase of my life I choose to be a ‘Radical Compassionate’. Which means I am gonna have to love my fundamentalist neighbor. It’s tough but not impossible. Imagine love so abundant it lights the way for those who hate!
My favorite part of the CBS Evening News is the final segment ‘Eye on America’. It features beautiful stories of people helping one another. Inspirational stories that always make me smile. I do, however, have to sit thru 50 minutes of dark and depressing stories first. Maybe that is what makes the last ten minutes so glorious. Ten minutes of light will outshine 50 minutes of darkness every time. Here is the good news, no matter how deep the hatred; a slight bit of love will outweigh all the hate.
Imagine the world if the news was fifty minutes light and ten minutes dark. That is the goal of bcompassionate.com. And it is doable. One small act multiplied by immeasurable light. Like the story of the young girl in Arkansas who spent her time delivering love and goodies to residents in a nursing home. There is so much goodness going on all around us, most we don’t see, but it is there. People are basically good and that needs to be celebrated!
It is empathy with legs and justice in your extended hands. Compassion is love in action. When you get out of 'you' and flow with the energy of love which makes up the mind of altruism. I’ve thought long and hard about this and I’ve come to realize the only thing that matters in this life is to be a friend to my neighbors. The goal of this new blog and website is to inspire readers to reach out to touch a hurting world and place a little balm in the dry places and a listening ear in the lonely faces. Also to find the hidden treasure you carry within, to give and to create a whole world of healing. It won’t take much, maybe a phone call, a smile, a meaningful gift, a couple of dollars, a dozen cookies, and a kind word. Profound simplicity turns darkness to light. So it is with gratitude that I take this journey with you. Please be compassionate to me and share your stories with me. What compassionate acts did you witness today? In what way were you able to be used as a compassionate ambassador? Your ideas help us all, so take 5 minutes and share. Blessings.
Peggy Perry-Hill has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan. She spent many years as a public school teacher. Her goal was always to be a full time writer. She has spent the last 25 years traveling the globe with her husband John Two-Hawks, presenting concerts workshops and retreats. Her mantra has been 'making music and making friends'. Peggy has also written several books with her latest being 'Give Peas a Chance' a nostalgic 60s cookbook which she wrote to hold onto some levity in her life during the pandemic. She has facilitated Women of Wisdom (WOW) retreats for over 15 years. Peggy is the owner of Circle Studios Records and CSR Media Publishing Company. Her passion is compassion and she has stood for decades by another mantra, Love is a Verb, so her main goal in writing is to inspire her readers into action. Peggy Perry-Hill is a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves writing, music, theater and culinary arts.