Friday, July 29, 2016

An Unexpected Show of Compassion

An Unexpected Show of Compassion - ParentUnplugged - Stacy Snyder
‘Random Acts of Kindness’ has graduated to a staple buzz phrase in our world.  We’re not only familiar with its meaning, but most of us have experienced it, either as the giver or the receiver, or both.  You know what I’m talking about….the anonymous neighbor that weeds your garden and mows your lawn, the guy behind you in line at at the Starbucks drive-through who literally pays it forward by buying your coffee before you pull up to the window, or you carrying a load of groceries home for a senior or young mother who seems to be struggling.  I love the trend of showing kindness to complete strangers; it’s a custom I’ve come to rely on.

But I’m also a sucker for the unexpected show of compassion I receive from others, and occasionally dole out myself.  While compassion itself can be passive and does not necessarily require action, the intimate offerings of warmth I’m referring to require a little more interaction and often takes a lot of guts.  Example?  How about the lab technician who gave me a full-on hug from behind today while I was uncomfortably trying to keep my boobs from being squashed to death in the mammogram machine during my annual appointment.  Sounds wacky, but the unexpected offering of fellow feeling totally eased my angst over a painful medical necessity.  

We were talking about tattoos, as what else do you talk about when you see a crying eyeball in the center of a flaming sun etched on someone’s chest as you’re positioning their ta-ta’s on the tray?  She said she wanted her own permanent mark  for her 50th birthday, and we shared a moment of verbal appreciation for doing something for yourself that makes you feel even more in tune with your spirit than you already are.  Somewhere between the compression of the twins, and the holding of my breath for the umpteenth time while the camera captures a digital image of my mammary glands, she gave me a quick squeeze on the back of my shoulders. 

In that moment of uber exposure while my cha-chas’s lay flattened out on a cold glass table-top machine and portions of my chest were being crushed to the verge of a cracked rib cage, her simple charity of touch went a long way to both ease my distress and to allow me to accept the connection she was handing out through our conversation. 

While I traditionally can hold my own in the compassion department, I’ve recently experienced a rut, where the simple connection with others is difficult, as my immediate comfortable zone is to close myself off.  Thank you, fearless lady, for extending your humanity to me, even in the most awkward of times; your action has already started a chain reaction in me of reaching out to others. 

Shall we keep the ball rolling?