Changing The World, A Tissue At A Time
Compassion doesn’t only mean stopping wars, feeding the hungry or ending the AIDS crisis. Compassion in its most simple form is our human ability of for a moment being able to step into someone else’s shoes and understand their dilemma.
In 2007, when I first walked into the infusion center at Cedars Sinai Medical Center with my late husband, I was taken by fear. I looked around to the 30 – 40 people there all hooked up to a bag containing chemicals strong enough that signs were posted in the bathrooms asking patients to flush twice. Chris and I looked for two seats together and waited for a nurse to come and hook him up as well.
Immersed in my pain, I turned my face away from Chris because of the tears running down my face. I didn’t want him to see them. A woman sitting next to a man getting his infusion got up, picked up a tissue and without saying a word handed it to me.
In her simple and profound gesture, this woman who knew nothing about me was letting me know she knew what I was feeling. I heard in my heart; I understand. I took the tissue and wiped away the tears on my face. No new ones ran down after. Because of the woman’s gesture, I knew I was not alone. And I was again ready to deal with whatever was coming my way.
Every day we have an opportunity to change someone’s life by paying attention to their needs. Our compassion can be in the form of a tissue, or a smile. Nothing big, only profound.
As we pay attention to others, so will others pay attention to us. And that is how we can change the world. A smile, and a tissue at a time.