i was hours away from heading to the cottage with my friend from work, her boyfriend, and his entire family, when i started feeling really anxious. i'm in no state to meet anyone, i thought. i've been feeling really fragile lately; what if i cry and make a fool out of myself? what if i need alone time and can't get it? or, even worse, what if i get eaten by a bear?
my heart started racing as i dwelt on the whole bear thing - the big and hungry - bigger than me bear.
of course, these thoughts were unfounded, but it took a friend of mine to walk me through it, and a few [okay, a lot of] deep breaths, to be able to see it.
i took another deep breath, prayed a brief prayer, grabbed my bags, and left for the cottage, and am i ever glad i did; i had a lot of fun with old friends and new, managed to squeeze some alone time in, sat on a dock and in a boat, made delicious smores, caught fish [okay, one fish], and didn't - get this - didn't get eaten by a bear ... or a coyote, or a snapping turtle for that matter. [i did, however, get bitten by a donkey. jackass].
i also learned a lot about how patient love is as i watched my friend's family take such good care of their mom/grandma, who is sadly on the onset of alzheimers, and i helped where i could because, as i've been learning, compassion is useless without action.
we live in a world where liking a status, sharing an article, writing a blog, or reposting a video is synonymous with having compassion towards something. don't get me wrong, it's definitely a start, but it's not enough; we need to make sure that what moves our hearts actually activates our hands.
have compassion on the poor? spend less and give more.
feel sympathetic towards your grandma who has alzheimers? sit with her and tell her stories.
feel 'bad' for a friend who's going through the thick of it? pick up the phone and check in.
feel infuriated over what's happening in the states? check your own heart and figure out a way to bring about change.
[insert whatever else makes your heart ache here].
whether you can relate to the above list or not, your heart beats for something. it has to. and whatever it is that has been placed inside of you has been placed inside of you on purpose. the key is to do something about it. it's time we stop spending so much time 'liking' things and start focussing on turning our compassion into compACTION.