A Story of Compassion...

A Story of Compassion...

Today and throughout the weekend, 1000+ people from all around the world will begin sharing their voices about compassion. 

Today I am 1 in 1000+ who will share what compassion means to me. 

Today I am part of a movement.

#1000Speak started with an understanding that even though we might get older, we still all need the metaphorical village around us, and the compassion of others in our lives. Then the sudden thought happened - what if 1000 of us wrote about compassion all at once? From there, the movement has taken on its own life; has burgeoned and grown and spread a whole lot of love and connection and 'villageyness'. Together we are stronger. - Lizzi Rogers

My Story

From 1977 to 1981, I attended a predominately white private school. I was the only black girl in my class. When I was in 2nd grade, I met another black girl who was in the 1st grade. She was the one who became my friend and we played together during recess.

The following year was difficult for me because my black friend was no longer there. I was a year older and more aware of my differences because they were brought to my attention.

I can still remember the full names of the girls who taunted my differences. I can still remember the full names of the Jewish girl and the tiny white girl with thick glasses who became my best friends.

That was nearly thirty seven years ago.

We had Show & Tell on Fridays. The ‘IT’ thing for all the girls to bring to school was their cabbage patch doll. The redheaded girl with freckles had a cabbage patch doll with orange hair and freckles. The blonde girls had cabbage patch dolls with yellow hair and hazel or blue eyes. The girl from Spain had a cabbage patch doll with straight black hair. The hair on the cabbage patch dolls was made from yarn. 

Friday was my least favorite day at school because I never had anything cool to take, and I didn’t own a cabbage patch doll.

One day my mom surprised me with a cabbage patch doll. I feigned excitement, but I knew she wasn’t a real cabbage patch doll. She didn’t come with the birth certificate (certificate of authenticity) that showed my name and hers. Additionally, she was black, and she had black cornrows in her hair. She looked like me. 

I can imagine the thrill my mom must have had when she found a black cabbage patch doll with cornrows. As a mom today, that makes me feel warm and fuzzy to tears.

However, at that age, I had already learned that I was a contrast to my classmates similar. No one was excited about my doll when I took her to school and the insecurity of my differences were on the rise.

I can still remember the names of the teachers who made me feel bad, and I can still remember the teachers who made a difference.

One of the teachers who I only remember as Miss “Swears” (incorrect spelling/correct pronunciation) didn’t complete the school year because she got married and moved away. I cannot remember if ‘Swears’ was her married name or her maiden name but in my memory, both were hard to spell.

Before Miss Swears left, she pulled me aside when no one was around. She gave me a book with white and black models in it. She told me that I was beautiful, I was special, and that I was no different from the girls in my class. She told me that I was smart and that I could be anyone I wanted to be. 

"Compassion is important because..."

Those words withdrew my uncertainties and gave me hope. Today it makes me feel warm and fuzzy to tears to know that she noticed me, and that she cared enough to teach me an important lesson on her way out. Compassion.

There are many people who have been in and out of my life who left no impression at all. 

We can chose to ignore someone in a situation who is not our problem or we can give someone hope.

Spread hope, so that hope comes around and goes around.

When you know better, you do better.
— Maya Angelou

How would you choose to be remembered? Helpful, indifferent or not at all?

Be compassionate. It's easy. It's free. It's spreadable.

Let's make compassion an epidemic!


This story was originally shared here as a part of a blog relay to spread Hope, then again as a feature in the Our Land Series. Today it is shared as a part of the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion Movement. Spread the love using the hashtag #1000Speak and join the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion group on Facebook. Linkup and/or find others stories here.

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