May 2, 2007

To change the world....

Today I was reading the blog of a person who is upset with the injustices of our world (no arguement....there are many)...and our country in particular. So what is our response? Can we make a difference or would it be a futile attempt, like a trying to count the sand on a beach or trying to drink the ocean?

How would you change the world if it were up to a realistic or attainable way?

I hate to tell you my answer....because I do not think it is possible. I know how it ends....or should I say how it really starts to Begin for us. I've read the Book.

It's encouraging to know that some Day the striving against evil will be over, but for now we live here on planet Earth. And it is not a pretty sight as far as justice and truth. And I am no crusader for world change or lobbyist for justice.

Here is what I left as a comment on that blog:

Oh my....erm, I'm sorry? ;) I'm not really mocking you, I just never know what to say when you rant. =)

Praying for you and your finals and stuff!!
I love you.....and although the world is not an example of human compassion and it is so very hard to think about how change could ever happen, YOU can be (compassionate) and I know you will make a huge difference in numerous lives over the course of yours. And that is GREATNESS chicky."

A lot of you know I'm talking about my daughter's blog. She is a social work major and is constantly (!) confronted with all manner of societal injustice and she is processing it. It is the kind of blog post that she will probably erase tomorrow, but I hope she doesn't. It's true. And it is informative...and hopefully it will be inspiring to many to put on our compassion and parade it around. We CAN make a difference in many, many lives. We should never give up. We should stay informed and righteously angry and actively pursuing justice in our nation.

But here is my thought (my realistic, practical and attainable thought)...... it is in the day to day contact we have with real live people that will make the greatest impact. I may not have the opportunity to change the world, but I do have countless opportunities every day to show compassion, mercy, grace...oh and don't forget "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

Tonight I was at Walmart doing some shopping. Why is it that they always have a gazillion checkout stations, but only a few open at any given time? Even when there are 5-6 customers with baskets loaded with groceries waiting and waiting? Whoops, we go back again: The checkout girl in charge of our lane looked nervous and frustrated. The woman 2 people ahead of me had scads of little children's clothing and each piece had to be scanned. Some were on sale and she had to type in the special numbers. It took FOR EVER....and I said so to my daughter Emma, as we stood in line, examining all the new chewing gum flavors.

I made eye contact with the checker one time and I think I was either sighing visibly or rolling my eyes, because it was conveyed to her that I was annoyed. It showed in her gave her discouragement....what a gift. That second of eye contact did something to my heart softened, it pulled me into check. She was doing her best to keep things moving, she was embarrassed and sorry. I suddenly felt like a real jerk (for good reason), dropped my glance, and gave myself a little talking to. I determined I would show this girl some compassion and let her know it was okay and that she was doing just fine. (and all this was before reading that blog post.....gotta be a God thing)

Next in line was a quiet but aggrivated woman. She showed her frustration very passively, yet as clearly as if she had said it verbally. There was mome confusion and frustration for the checker when a gift card the woman was trying to use was not going through on the computer and a manager had to be called over. Her face got beet red. She looked at the woman and said she was so sorry it was taking so long. To which the woman only responded with silence....very loud silence. She looked at me and appologized. So I seized my opportunity and smiled at her....genuinely this time...and said it was okay. It's funny how deciding and taking action to show compassion actually stirs it in your spirit, and it did. I wanted to help her in some way or take her on break and buy her a coke or at least give her a hug...when a few minutes before I was rolling my eyes at her.

My order went through quickly and she beat me to the "have a wonderful evening" part. I think she meant it. I think just a smile and friendly countenance did wonders for her spirit, as well as mine. And I thought to myself on the way out....why can't I do that for more people I run across every day? It would really encourage people and I feel better too. Face it, when you act like a jerk, you feel like one too. When you act compassionate, you become compassionate.

It's kind of along the 'pay it forward' idea. Show kindness, have some compassion and understanding.

It goes a long way in today's fast paced, agressive, cold world. People are craving it.

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