My own words proved to be very true today. A few hours ago I was caught off guard as the sound of tornado sirens screamed from my backyard. I wasn’t really expecting bad wether today but as soon as I read a text from one of my friends that read, get in your shelter now, I knew it would be an interesting afternoon. I panic inside. When that big, black cloud circles overhead, I feel trapped and afraid. Lucky for us it never touched down. At least not today.
A few months before we moved into this house it was hit by a tornado. The house across the street would eventually be torn down. The threat is very real. I referred to the quote about life earlier that simply states, it goes on. Every moment does pass and there is a calm both before and after the storm. If I could put those words into a picture, it would look something like this. Hard to believe this was the view from my backyard after such a stormy day. It goes on…
Today is our first major tornado threat of the year here in Oklahoma. Isn’t it amazing and crazy how much our lives can change in just 24 hours? Everything that seemed like such a big deal yesterday isn’t even a single thought today. Life has a funny way of putting things in perspective especially when we’ve forgotten how to do it for ourselves. Today be grateful for all of your blessings no matter how big or small. Don’t take anything for granted and keep in mind today and tomorrow may look very different from one another. We are in a constant state of change. This too shall pass. Until then I will hunker down until the storm blows past and it will pass in its own time.
Sometimes we forget to be grateful as we wake up in bed each morning.
Sometimes we forget to love and appreciate the blessings in our lives.
Sometimes we forget that today may very well be our last.
Sometimes we forget to not get caught up in the little things that will never matter.
Sometimes we forget that the past is in the past.
Sometimes we just forget that we only get one dance around the sun.
Sometimes we forget….and a simple tornado that touches down in your town reminds you. Everything gets back in the right perspective and you are reminded to live smarter, live better and be kinder. You are reminded that you will not get this day back so you spend it wisely. Sometimes it takes a big, scary storm to help you see a whole lot clearer and then you remember. You remember to love, you remember to live and you remember to be grateful for every single minute you have. Sometimes we forget but eventually we remember to spend our days surrounded by love and let things like regret and anger slip away.
What is compassion? According to Webster, compassion is a sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. Without genuine understanding of the depth that encompasses this amazing gift, compassion will always only be a word. I used to believe that having compassion for another human being meant sharing in their pain. What I didn’t fully understand was that sharing in another’s pain was made to be taken in the most literal sense. Sharing goes beyond the ears and beyond the eyes. It goes beyond acknowledging a problem exists and being a support system to the ones who need it most. I thought I got it but would listening do it? Would just sitting beside someone while they talked about pain be enough to help take some of it away?
My first real understanding of compassion came after a small town in Oklahoma was decimated by a tornado. I live in the next town over and I will forever be changed by what I witnessed as my husband drove us slowly past the scene. I could feel my heart break underneath my skin as the tears fell easily from my eyes. I felt the pain I saw on the faces of the people standing in the wreckage of the very spot that used to be their home. It was gone, destroyed, all of it. There was nothing left but a gigantic mess while people stood there holding pieces of what used to be their lives. They stood there rummaging through the devastation hoping to find a little piece of anything familiar, something to hold onto. In a single moment, everything was gone…their homes, their clothes, their food, their keepsakes. All they had was the the clothing they wore on their bodies. Lives were taken that day, a day that will never be forgotten by the ones who were there. The community pulled together as one. The stories were enough to open your heart and make it want to sing, the acts of kindness and bravery and hope changed a town that would never be the same. Imagine years of pictures literally blown away. I remember hearing about a place to drop off any pictures that were found no matter how many miles away. A place people could come to in the hope of having a memory of the physical kind. I felt sick inside. I have never felt so much pain. We did what we knew to do. We donated water and helped sort through clothing that was donated for these poor people who only owned the clothes on their backs. We watched in horror and prayed quietly in hope that one tiny child’s body would be pulled out of the rubble alive. We mourned and we healed. That is when I finally understood it. When people are conflicted with pain that is unimaginably excruciating, someone has to take it from them. In order to heal, the pain has to be lifted away until they have the courage and strength to stand alone. That is the true gift and act of compassion. Actively and willingly choosing to carry your portion of pain for the cumulative healing of the whole. It is becoming one with the people around you and understanding we are all connected. Every single thing we do affects another. When we heal ourselves, we heal the whole. When we help heal others, we heal ourselves. Who has the courage to do that these days? Just turn on the news when there is a devastating disaster. Watch how people step up and step in. The result is something beautiful and healing beyond words.
Today, several bloggers are writing about compassion. It is a willful movement towards a world filled with the beautiful act of compassion. Will you join us? Will you do your part? Be the change you wish to see in the world and the world will be a beautiful place.