So many of the days during my husbands deployment were a blur. Not because it was all terrible but because the load I carried seemed to give me little time for processing. I do remember one winter afternoon, clearly. I was at the grocery store with my toddler son, waiting for a prescription, after just having spent much of the afternoon waiting for a visit with the doctor, after having spent the last sleepless night caring for and worrying about him. During the short wait at the pharmacy, his discomfort grew as well as my anxiety to get him home as quickly as possible. He hadn't had much of an appetite, yet I had been giving him Motrin to help with his fever, which doesn't always sit well on an empty stomach. I grabbed the bag, paid for its contents and tucked him up into me as I hurried to the car. As we approached, I noticed a cart blocking my door. I quickly pushed it up past my car door, focused on getting us home. As I started to open the door, I heard the two men behind me express their disapproval of me not putting my cart back. Looking straight at me, yet talking to each other, they made sure I understood that it was selfish and lazy of me not to do so. (If you read one of my previous posts, you would know exactly how I feel on the matter.) My immediate reaction was a bit of disbelief over how forward and critical they were. Then my son threw up. I started to clean him up, struggling to see what I was doing through the tears. I wanted so badly to tell them they had some nerve and no idea what was going on. That I was tired, alone, worn, and a nice person that usually returned my carts and that it wasn't even my cart to begin with! I drove home feeling a combination of self-pity and deep irritation. I kept thinking about what I would have said to them had I been given another opportunity. I looked back at my son through the mirror and saw his sweet little face. And that red, tired face softened my heart. The anger I was feeling slipped away and everything seemed to quiet around me. I knew it was learning time. So I listened. And in my heart and mind came the reminder that though the lack of compassion shown to me was wrong, so was my withholding compassion from the seemingly compassion-less.
Compassion is something I think a lot about. It is an attribute that is not just one on my checklist of attributes to have but one that finds its way into my introspection on a constant level. The times I missed an opportunity to carry or "be there" for someone stay with me and serve as reminders in my every day life. So why did it seem that in some of the most crucial moments where what I needed most was compassion, did I receive the opposite? Like that afternoon, over the course of time, I am being taught that sometimes my Heavenly Father wants me to know that He is the only one that can know all of the details. That sometimes He is the only one that will know my heart completely and that I am striving, trying, and putting my cart back when no one else knows it. And I have to be okay with that. Over all, I can't consider myself compassionate if I can't show compassion in situations where it is being directly withheld from me. Man, I have a long way to go. But I think I am also okay with that.
Trip of a Lifetime
2 years ago