• Nicole

Compassion and Humanity: Pay It Forward Challenge

Updated: Dec 14, 2019

This weekend, while I was browsing one of the many craft shows in town with my mom, I saw a woman who had hair that I instantly recognized as post-chemo fuzz. I overheard her talking to a vendor about how happy she was to not wear a cap anymore because her hair was starting to grow back. This confirmed what I already suspected; she’s a survivor. I watched her for a little while, and as we got closer I did something that is very outside of my usual comfort zone; I went up to her, touched her on the arm, and then asked if she was going through treatment. Our eyes met and as she took in my similarly short hair, we shared a connection that needed no words. She nodded and told me she had just completed her treatment. I congratulated her and gave her a hug. We wished each other well and went on our separate ways.

Again, hugging people I don’t know is not typically something I do. But now, when I see someone who I know has battled cancer, they don’t seem like such a stranger anymore. I can’t tell you how many times during my treatment days other survivors would approach me and we would have the same exchange of understanding and compassion. We didn’t even need to share the details of our stories. Our unspoken bond was enough to let us know that we’re not alone. That others get it. And have made it through.

This interaction got me thinking; it’s because of those people who decided to share a brief moment of compassion with me that I was motivated to pass the good will on to this woman, and she may feel inclined to do the same for another. They planted the seed, and it grew. Kindness and paying it forward is in our hands. And we have the opportunity to touch the lives of many.

So during this week of Thanksgiving, I’d like to challenge you to complete one intentional act of kindness, thoughtfulness, or helpfulness each day. I know many of us are naturally generous or considerate, but I’m suggesting we step it up a notch. Think of the humanity other people have shown you, and pass it on. It can be something you plan like making a meal for someone who needs it. Or it can be a spontaneous, in the moment gesture like buying coffee for the person behind you in line. No matter how big or small, it’s the impact of the unsuspected compassion that matters.

And if you haven’t see the movie Pay It Forward, it would be a great one to watch this holiday weekend. Happy Thanksgiving!

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