Several years ago, someone asked me how I came to this space of compassion for humanity in my life. I remember the question as if it were yesterday. At first, I was not sure how I was going to answer the question, and then this simple word floated up from my heart – LIFE.
I once heard LIFE was an acronym for Love Is For Everyone. The simplicity of that message resonated with me because it was part of what I have learned my entire life. It was a valuable lesson I learned from my parents who made room in their hearts for an infant who was looking for a home. My parents believed that their love, as parents, was for me and for my two brothers who arrived a few years later. Love is for everyone.
Love, as my mother once told me, is not limited to our compassion for people, but also for all of creation. I remember one morning, while at the local park; we saw a duck with one leg. I had never seen a one legged duck before and could tell it struggled to move around and get in and out of the water. I wanted to help it, but my mother said that trying to save the duck was not helping it. Instead, she taught me to pray for the duck that other ducks would help and support it. She taught me that I could not save the world, but I could keep the world in prayer. I could lift up all in prayer. I could support those who were learning new ways of being in the world.
As I have evolved and aged over the years, I often times think back to that one legged duck and the lessons learned about how important it is to have compassion for self and others. As Shirley Caesar once said, ''I cannot sweeten the Atlantic Ocean, but I can take a pitcher of water and sweeten that.'' I could not solve the problems of that one legged duck, nor can I solve the problems of entire world, but by treating others with love, dignity and respect I can hold the world in my heart and lift up all who are working to find a way of being in the world in the most challenging of circumstances.
I can open my heart, remember what it is like to be the least of thee, and take refuge in the understanding of our shared suffering. I can, and do, gather in Spirit with others and collectively we hold each other in prayer, supporting this world with our prayers and positive energy when it is wobbling like a one legged duck. As one world, we can hold each other in our collective prayers and intents to feel our common experiences and the beating of our common hearts. We can, with the love, light, and positive energy of others learn to soar in our own ways in the world, even when we are that one-legged duck.
This is how I learned to be humane; life, love, a one legged duck and the love and compassion of others. What is your story?