Just as music soothes the soul, compassion soothes the heart. During life’s most difficult journeys, compassion can be as instrumental as music. I can’t play a single note of music, yet by sharing hope in hurting lives I’m able to create a beautiful song. It’s a song that resonates in my heart and in theirs—it’s the music of hope. Anyone is capable of singing the song: instrumental compassion makes a difference irregardless of your money, time, or talent.
Throughout life we’re given opportunities to share the gift of compassion. Some opportunities are a world away, while others are up close and personal. Natural disasters have a ripple-effect; even though the devastation may be across the world, we’re given opportunity to be instruments of compassion simply through praying.
Within our own communities, there are families going through some of life’s toughest challenges with cancer, deployment, wounded warriors, and Alzheimer’s. My husband’s recent surgery resulted in him coming home with extra baggage. A pain pump, immobilized arm and bandages presented special challenges that we hadn’t dealt with before. Everyday tasks like bathing, dressing, and eating are suddenly struggles. This healing journey will be weeks long—it’s a temporary set-back. It’s made the song of compassion resonate even louder in my heart. For many families such set-backs are even more challenging, and for still others such set-backs are permanently life-changing. That awareness compels me be a louder voice for instrumental compassion, up close and personal as well as across the world.
In doing so, I must face my perceived inadequacies. When I began the Little Pink Book series to bring the story of cancer through a child’s eyes, I often questioned my part in doing so. Writing wasn’t the problem; the problem was my nagging question of how I was worthy to address the weighty topic. People I love have had cancer; I have not. Through my readers, I began to understand that it’s not walking in someone’s shoes that matters most, it’s your willingness to walk beside them that matters more. That epiphany motivated me to share hope inside other difficult walks—deployments to war, caring for wounded warriors and coping with Alzheimer’s.
The more I’ve written though a child’s eyes about tough topics, the more I’ve learned about instrumental compassion. Children are natural encouragers, helpers and doers when given the opportunity—no matter how difficult the journey. Being afraid of doing (or saying) the wrong thing or simply not knowing what to do is the biggest deterrent to helping others. Children are readily forthright and honest; that’s key to making a difference in hurting lives. Adults can learn a great deal through the eyes of a child. Perhaps, that explains why my children’s books continue to engage readers from 8-88.
I’ve served as active duty military, as career-military spouse and mother of two (grown) brats. My mother struggles with Alzheimer’s. My Aunt and best friend have undergone mastectomies to eradicate breast cancer. I haven’t gone to war, I haven’t been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or cancer—but I’ve chosen to walk beside those who have. That makes me a worthy instrument of compassion. Imagine the difference in the world if everyone chose to be a vessel of instrumental compassion? Choose to be a light of hope—because hope matters most.
Maryann Makekau, Author & Inspirational Speaker