What Would I Be Willing To Give?
On the other side of the world, as I type this and as you read these words, there are some people writing history in a capacity we can only imagine. Day after day, they love. Through the good, the bad and the very ugly, they choose love. Because love is the only thing that is strong enough to reach into those places, the only thing strong enough to pick people up and help them move on. They are quiet, dedicated heroes whose actions have challenged many of us to ask ourselves, ” What would I be wiling to give?”In all honesty, if you are Canadian, the concept of compassion may not fully infiltrate your conscious thought. Compassion. One word that means so much. To some, it is a symbol of a child on their kitchen fridge door- a monthly commitment they value and look at with pride and hope. For some, it is reaching out to the hungry, the hurting, the lost. To others, it means giving what you can monetarily or even with your time. That’s fair. It should mean all of those things.But in our world of consistent, affordable healthcare, affordable insurance, honorable civil servants and well-paid practitioners, compassion may not be fully understood. When we see an accident on the side of the road, we stop. After all, we are compassionate, right? We help because we care – but we also help because it is the “right” thing to do. It may cost us time, energy and emotional distress to help out someone in need, but when that ambulance arrives we don’t worry about being the ones that have to pay for it, or the hospital stay that will ensue. When our social net shows up or kicks in to take over with someone less fortunate, we are relieved because we know it will be taken care of. We only worry about the important stuff like everyone being ok. This is a luxury that we, the rich of the world, enjoy – the ability to be “compassionate” without too many strings attached.Picture this: you are a young child. Very young. Too young to be anywhere by yourself let alone locked in that room with strange, cruel men coming and going, doing inexplicable things to young children. Things that you can’t even bear to think about. Hour after hour, day after day, you are victimized, brutalized, humiliated and exploited. You can’t remember home, and it is gettting harder and harder to remember your mother’s smile. Every time you try to conjure it up, you only see pain, betrayal, loss. Will anyone ever find you? Will anyone ever come to rescue you? Is there ever going to be life beyond these four walls again? Will you ever be able to learn how to write your name, how to play with a simple toy, how to be a part of a family again? Can you even remember what it is to be treated with kindness? Imagine what happens when one day that door opens, and compassion walks in.This is the story of many of the little faces we have loved, the hands that we have held and the laughter we have joined in with on our Hero Holiday Thailand trips. They are able to laugh and trust again because some incredible people have embraced compassion at the core of what it can be: to risk all for the sake of love. Many of the workers in this area have helped to rescue these 100+ kids from sexual slavery and exploitation. They have loved when it cost them much and they have paid a high price for that love. The cost has come in monetary value, living conditions, even heartbreak. In this place, compassion is without judgment, bias, or fear. It loves when it knows love may end in heartbreak and it loves in the hopes of a successful outcome. These men and women are leading the way, behind the scenes, in the homes that we support there and where we have the honor of working. Some of them have been rescued from the same horrors that they are now fighting, some of them have come from far away because they believe in a better future for children that the world does not even know exists, and some of them work there because they know their voice and their hands can work toward change.And every time I work alongside of them and experience the power of seeing lives changed at the grassroots level where we come to help, I am forced to look in the mirror and ask myself, “What would I be willing to give?” It’s an incredible place to be.You can join us this August in Thailand – it’s not too late to change your summer plans! Why not invest two weeks of your life in bringing hope and love to lives that are desperate to understand it? Check out our Thailand trips at www.heroholiday.comI would rather feel compassion than know the meaning of it. ~ Thomas Aquinas