Henry was fondly named the Yup Yup Man. He was at every Mountaineer sports event, often pacing back and forth in an empty section of the sports venue. He had a small radio held to his ear and would repeat saying, “Yup, yup,” as he listened to the radio.
There was a problem when Henry was born that led to his situation. He was unable to work. When Henry entered a restaurant, he was seated and fed. He was never given a bill. He lived in the back of a movie theater, rent fee. Whenever Henry needed to get to a game, someone would drive him. He was admitted to every game without a ticket.
When Henry’s health made it necessary for him to live in a nursing home, coaches and athletes would regularly visit him. His room was filled with game balls and photographs.
When Henry passed away, the local sports show announced his passing. The rest of the show was a spontaneous sharing of Henry stories. You could tell that many of the callers were fighting back tears. Henry was loved by the community.
Compassion is a genuine sharing of one’s heart to those in need. Henry could have qualified for care through governmental assistance programs. But he had a compassionate community to care for him.
There is a saying that chopping wood warms you in two ways: one when you are doing the chopping and one when you are warmed by the fire. Compassion also warms you in two ways. The first is the compassionate act itself. The smile on the faces of those you help warms your heart. Then there are the lasting memories that remain with you for the rest of your life.
Compassion doesn’t come from a solicitation for help. Genuine compassion comes from our own recognition of a need that often goes unspoken. It involves reaching out to offer support.
The wonderful thing about compassion is that it can be given by anyone no matter their age, economic status, or position in life. Compassion isn’t something we do for a grade, a bonus, a promotion, or any other trappings of our society. It’s something we do because we care. Compassion isn’t something we teach, but it is something we can learn from observing others.
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“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama