By Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas
“In the Name of God, Boundlessly Compassionate and Infinitely Merciful.” (The Qur’an)
“And as for those who have attained to faith in Allah and hold fast unto Him- God will enfold them within His compassion and His abundant blessing, And guide them to Himself by a straight way.” [Qur’an 4:174-175]
Compassion is contagious. I have found in my life, that the more one experiences compassion, the more one is drawn to practice it on oneself and others. All compassion begins with the Infinitely Compassionate, Infinitely Merciful One. When we experience God’s compassion and mercy, it flows through us and onto others. Compassion can also flow to us from other human beings, even sometimes from animals or trees. Whatever or whoever offers us protection, solace, companionship, mercy, and guidance is offering us compassion.
Compassion can enfold us in unexpected ways. Recently I was teaching a classroom of rather unruly 6th grade math students. They were not taking their work seriously, but were goofing around and being silly. At one point I’m certain I looked exasperated and frustrated. One little girl (who was definitely a part of the ruckus) looked at me with the sweetest smile and said, “Do you need a hug, Ms. Vargas?” I instantly melted and said, “Yes!” After that, how could I be angry? We all just laughed. Compassion had won the day and it was shared by all.
Compassion comes hand in hand with blessings, as is stated in the Qur’anic verse above. Blessings flow to us in ways we sometimes cannot imagine. Yet, if we put out our radar, we can detect these blessings everywhere, every day. Once we detect them, they flow through us and can benefit others as well. When we receive bounty and feel grateful for it, we want to share it with others. It is only when we feel empty, or lacking in what we believe we most need, that we become selfish and stingy. That is why it is so important to connect first to God’s bounty and blessings, realizing all that we have been given without asking for it or even deserving it. Then and only then we can be generous and charitable with others. We are not giving away what is ours, we are simply sharing what was never really ours to begin with.
When was the last time you experienced compassion, which inspired the same in you? Remember – every act of compassion we perform, inspires others to pass it along!