Life With Nine Kids

Friday, April 6, 2012

I Got to Show Compassion Today (not just feel it)

I saw a woman with two children at a store today. I may have missed her, but loud screeching caught my ears. She was frazzled and grabbing her kids firmly trying to get them to "behave." That's what really caught my attention, I thought she was being harsh for half of a second. But then I saw what was really going on. She wasn't angry. She was frazzled and trying to keep control of a very hard situation. She had a child with her who was very high needs and who appeared very autistic. He looked about six. He was making loud repetitive screeching noises and repetitive movements. He was very hard to manage. There was a little boy too, about eight years old, tagging along and sometimes wondering off. I felt so very sympathetic for her. They went one direction and us the other (I noticed a man joined them, her husband I presume). After a moment I just looked at my husband, shook my head, and whispered, "We have it so easy."

We went next door to Walmart and down the very busy cereal isle a little boy walked up to us and started talking to Everett and asking me questions about him. Everett liked it and enjoyed the encounter. I thought the boy looked familiar. I looked down the isle and there was the family -the autistic boy in the big part of the grocery cart thrashing about. He repeatedly hit his back against the metal. I chatted with my curious little friend and told him I liked his spider shirt. I made eye contact with his mom and she half-smiled at me as if to say thanks for being friendly. It pleased me she wasn't yelling for him not to bug us. We were in the way of shoppers so I motioned for us to head down the isle. Ricky grabbed the cart from me as I walked the boy back to his mother, I kept on walking to catch up with Ricky. As I left I tried to get Everett to wave goodbye, but the little boy was preoccupied as a lot happened in a short time. The little boy was in the way of another shopper and as his mom struggled to get him out of the way the autistic child was trying to stand up in the grocery cart. The dad was down the isle retrieving something. I met Ricky at the end of the isle and just stood there watching. This mom looked like she did not know what to do. She had a total look of defeat on her face. Life was being sucked from her at full force. I passed Everett to Ricky and said, "I'll be right back, I have to do something." Total instinct, emotion and impulse took over me: I just had to do this now...not think about whether it's right, or wrong, or odd, or crazy...I just had to do something.

I walked right up to this very petite woman, who was at least a few inches shorter than me, and without permission I gave her a hug. I said, "You look like you need a hug, and I want to tell you, YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB. This is so hard. You are doing it." She was shocked, she looked as if I had spun her in six circles around and around.  She didn't know what had hit her. I said again, "You are doing a great job with these kids." She told me thank you and smiled. The look on her face was love.

I walked away with tears in my eyes.

Until tonight I had totally forgotten that 11 years ago when I worked at a Mexican restaurant I encountered a woman caring for a severally mentally retarded child, the child was about 12 or so. She touched my heart when I saw how gentle and loving she was with the child. The kid needed help with everything and was making a mess and demanding so much care and help.

I was handed a really easy deck of cards in life and some people aren't. I don't often take it for granted, but I'm human so I'm sure I do sometimes. I was so impressed by how well she handled her child that I walked up to her and said, "You are very good with her, it's so touching to see that, I'm sure it's hard, God bless your family." She was so thankful and a smile lit up lovingly on her face. It feels good to give people support, it feels even better when it's someone you don't even know.

 People should care for people...strangers should be kind to each other and compassionate. When you can let your heart lead the way; don't just have compassion, show compassion.

From Wikipedia:
Compassion is a virtue — one in which the emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy (for the suffering of others) are regarded as a part of love itself, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection and humanism — foundational to the highest principles in philosophy, society, and personhood.

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

I *heart* you SO SO SO SO much, Shauna! The world is SO much better because you're in it, and populating it with your children. And even though he didn't have much part in this story, I think the same of Ricky. He's awesome, and the two of you together are just what makes the world brighter, to me!