It’s easy to get into a state of mind on the way to work or the store where the people around you become invisible. It is rarely done with intent. Life can consume us. Responsibility and the tug of what is and what is to come can be daunting. Our eyes slowly focus on our goal and the things outside of that scope can fade. In order to strengthen who we are as human beings we must live with eyes wide open; that’s not easy. To live where compassion and kindness are a part of our daily routine can change our hearts and change the lives of another human being. Compassion and kindness are life changing, game changing pieces in the puzzle of life.

To live where compassion and kindness are a part of our daily routine…

Today I took note of the many who felt invisible around me. There was an elderly woman selling bundles of lavender. Tourists and locals passed without a glance. A man no older than thirty pacing back and forth outside of a fast food restaurant holding an empty cup out for change. Most seemed to pass with a sense of annoyance. I watched the hunched over man propped up by crutches be passed with most intentionally avoiding eye contact. Again, most bobbed around to avoid awkward and possible guilt ridden eye contact.  Invisible human beings.

Those who beg whether out of necessity or choice can easily be perceived as burdens to society. They are similar to the lepers back in Christ’s day. They are outcasts and more often cast aside than offered compassion.

It isn’t about money….

compassion and empathy

Compassion and kindness are not about the need to dole out money. If we were required to do that to all who asked our pockets would be empty and our wheels would be spinning. Give when lead, but giving comes in more forms than merely in a dollar. This is more about treating each human being we encounter with respect, dignity and a smile. That doesn’t mean you need to sit on a bench and have a twenty minute conversation. Nope. You can if you’d like, but it is mostly about being human.

Simple, but not so easy.

Gypsies reside throughout Romania. They travel from place to place and some work, some beg and some steal. Kind of like any group of people. Years ago I had a negative encounter with a few Gypsies. I was in Rome, had a young boy throw popcorn in my face and someone in to grab at my bag when I grabbed right back. Quick, but not quick enough to take my stuff. As a backpacker I have heard countless stories about travelers pick pocketed and tricked by Gypsies. It’s hard not to have a bad taste in your mouth

The truth is…

Being in uncomfortable situations can be uncomfortable. It can be a source of frustration being asked for money or food 1,212 times in an hour. What is important for us as adults as well as instilling in our kids is the power and need for compassion and kindness. Here are a few truths I’ve learned in life:

  • We all want to be treated with kindness
  • When we are ignored it’s not fun
  • A smile and eye contact go far
  • Be kind one to another

So maybe my list is annoying, but it’s true. Little kernels of goodness we all want for ourselves and, in turn, no one deserves to be treated without us simply being kind. Our words and our body language can make someone’s day or harm it. The choice to be more intentional is up to us. It’s kind of a cool thing. We have that ability.

Life can be tough.

Sometimes it can be brutal. One of the best ways to counter feeling overwhelmed and like absolute crap is to be kind, spread joy and be filled with compassion.

Try it, I dare you….

As we creep closer to another new week it brings with it new opportunity for change. That means, the ball is in our court. Feel free to kick that kindness up a notch, to keep your eyes wide open and heart in tuned to the needs of other. When we hop on that train it will change us in crazy amazing ways.

Here’s to a week of peace, love and kindness!