Tommy’s crying in the gym. Why? Because he has the gift of compassion.
Lisa has come to pick him up and she’s given him some really scary news. Kristin, her friend’s teenaged daughter, has been in an accident. Her boyfriend wiped out on a gravel road, smashing up his truck and leaving Kristin with a collapsed lung and other injuries.
Lisa knows just what to do for Tommy and for Kristin. She and Tommy go shopping, and Tommy picks out gifts for Kristin that he would like—a little stuffed duckling for her to sleep with and a KitKat®.
Back at home, he makes a card with the message, “Dear Kristin, I love you and I hope you feel better soon. Love Tommy.”
At the hospital, Tommy can see that his friend is getting good care. Kristin’s uncomfortable, but the pain medication is working and she’s able to enjoy a visit with him and Lisa. Tommy is calm as he tells me about the accident later that evening.
I remember that when my father died, the sister who was closest to him asked my mother for a favor: “Give me something to do.” My mother had Aunt Rose man a table with memorabilia of my father’s life, a worthy task that helped her work through her grief.
“Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain.”