Compassion in the Midst of Bullying

I didn't get hurt.“Momma, don’t be mad at him, he doesn’t know any better.”

The words rang in my head like a banging cymbal. Thoughts of anger, sadness and complete confusion swirled in my mind. After what she had experienced, how could she say something like that? My wife silently stood watching and waiting as I struggled with these thoughts.

Well, I thought to myself she is better than I am that is for sure. She has more compassion in her little finger than I have in my whole body. As we talked more about the situation ultimately deciding to wait a few more days before making a final decision. After all she was only in kindergarten and despite the repeated occurrence of the little boy putting his hands on her neck and squeezing until in her words, she thought her eyes might pop out of her head, she seemed okay.

She was small and petite, one of the smallest in her class and an easy target for the bigger boys of the same age. To be taken out of school was not what she wanted as she had many friends and enjoyed her teachers. The school teachers aware of the incidents, were to keep a close eye on the little boy to make sure these types of things did not happen again. It was only two months before the summer break and it seemed she would be okay. However, a few weeks later she relayed another story that happened in gym class with the same boy.

“He came up behind me and picked me up and dropped me on my head.” She calmly stated to her mother, while holding her head at an angle because of the pain in her neck. Numerous trips to the chiropractor and the pain in her neck lessened with no long-term damage. However, the headaches continued and no amount of chiropractic adjustments helped because the stress remained.

We continued to struggle with the decision to pull her out of school or not with only a couple of weeks to go before summer. My wife was exploring homeschooling and seemed determined to convince me that next year this was the best option for our little girl. I remained unconvinced. Although, I would do anything to protect my little girl, I also wondered if this was something she needed to learn to deal with and not let the bullies win. I did not want my only daughter to believe that she was a victim and live her life not standing up for herself.

I picked her up from school one Friday afternoon, we buckled ourselves in and I started the car turning to look before backing out of the parking spot. Glancing in the rear view mirror at my beautiful blonde little girl I asked, “So, how was your day today honey?”

She smiled and looked back at me in the mirror and stated with a touch of joy in her voice, “Today was a good day Daddy, I didn’t get hurt.”

Before the words had died in the air my heart broke and I did not know how to respond. I could only muster a “That’s good, sweetie.”  Nothing about school, her friends or the fun that she had; no, the best part of my 5 year old’s day was that she did not get hurt. Are you f@$^&** kidding me I screamed in my mind!

Fighting back the tears I began slowly backing up the car and silently drove home. It was that night that my wife and I decided to get her through the last few weeks of this school year and to truly explore homeschooling for the next year when she entered first grade. After much research and many conversations with our little girl, as this would impact her also, we all decided to give homeschooling a try; never looking back.

Our daughter is now finishing fourth grade in some subjects and already into fifth and sixth grade level in others. She is thriving with a curriculum selected just for her; it is challenging and it allows her to move at her own pace. She is happy and involved in many other activities from horse riding, church youth groups, dance, soccer and baseball; not sheltered or un-socialized as some would have you believe all home schooled children are.

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The above story, based on true events, recalled as best they can and written in response to the #1000Speak theme Building from Bullying. Her experience has affected her. We still talk about it on occasion and how her perceptions are sometimes filtered through the pain she experienced. She has met others that are bullies, in organized events, even at church sponsored functions. This is unfortunately an all too often reality of the fallen world we live in. Maybe I am jaded but I believe we will always encounter bullies this side of the undiscovered.  Yet, we can not let ourselves become permanent victims and we can show compassion in the midst of the bullying.

This little girl has a heart that is more sensitive than anyone I have ever known. It will bring her pain and yet, it will also bring her great joys. You cannot have one without the other. She is my teacher and I am blessed beyond words because of her. Below is a poem she wrote in response to the 1000 Voices for Compassion movement.

Be kind to others in need.
Be kind and loving to others.
Even if they’re not kind and loving to you.
Have compassion for your sisters and brothers,
for God is waiting for you to be loving, just as He is.
For there will be people coming.
You will need to help these people.
Even if they’re not kind and loving to you.
For I tell you nothing is to small,
for it is simple enough to just have COMPASSION.

~Muppin ©2015, Age 10

Shine a Light

imageSomeone is in need of what you have;
so breathe deep and…

Smile!
Extend a hand!
Say hello!

You have exactly what someone needs;
so breathe deep and…

Grin!
Shine a light!
Give help!

You are more than you know;
so breathe deep and…

Tell them they are more than they know!

~Mark Schutter ©2015

 

My Compassion Fails – #1000Speak

It has been almost a week since the grand unveiling of 1000 Voices for Compassion initiative on February 20th.  Bloggers, writers and artists all over the world lent their voices to encourage compassion.  There were many reveal posts prior to the 20th answering the questions, why this was important to those participating and what compassion means to them personally.

I posted both a reveal post > Compassion  #1000Speak – Why? and a compassion post on the 20th > Simple Compassion,and others previously with compassion as the theme

I have read many wonderful posts by some brilliant people all around the theme of compassion.  Inspiring, beautiful, gut-wrenching, touching and some even funny.  The world needs compassion, each and every one of us, on a daily basis and based on the outpouring of love, emotion and thoughts it seems like we all have enough to share.

And yet…it seems…

That my own compassion is failing, miserably?

Compassion for others and for myself so often is complacent and appears non-existent. They infringe, blatantly so without concern, I believe on my life and agenda and I am offended and hurt.  How dare they, I silently scream inside!

>They do not hold the door for me when they clearly see me walking up, even though my arms are empty and work just fine and I have so much to be grateful for.

>They cut me off in traffic without signaling a lane change then speeding off as they just got a call from the hospital and their first child is being born.

>They drive the speed limit on a beautiful curvy country road where dappled sunlight filters through the leafless trees when I am in a hurry to get nowhere fast.

>They talk loudly in the coffee shop about recent struggles with their marriage and child while I frantically try to type a blog post on my laptop that will change the world.

>They ignore the pain that I see daily in the mirror reflected back at me in my own eyes, yet I am ambivalent to the silent pain I see in others.

>They stand staring blankly at me on the street corner, sign in hand as I think; I don’t have time, the light is going to change and then I sip my $5.00 coffee drink.

>And then, I call myself all sorts of vulgar and ugly names, knowing that if anyone did that to someone I love, nothing could stop me from exacting my own vengeance.

I am guilty of each of these things, over and over and …I criticize and belittle others for these exact things, even if it is only in my mind, for not showing kindness.  As if that justifies my anger and resentment.  We watch the large showings of compassion all over the news and social media; posted, shared, tweeted etc., etc.   These things are important no doubt and I pray I will participate in more initiatives such as this one and even play a part in a major story of compassion that makes headlines.

And yet…maybe it is in the little things?  Maybe it starts with me?

“Some believe it is only GREAT POWER that can hold evil in check.  But that is not what I have found.  I have found that it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay.  Small acts of kindness and love.” ~Gandalf (J.R.R. Tolkien)

So, I challenge you as I have challenged myself; what will you do now?

And I leave you with the following words to the song “How Can it Be” by Lauren Daigle, there is grace and no matter how many times we fail, we can try again. 

I am guilty
Ashamed of what I’ve done, what I’ve become
These hands are dirty
I dare not lift them up to the Holy one

Though I fall, You can make me new
From this death I will rise with You
Oh the grace reaching out for me
How can it be
How can it be 

#Just Believe  #Grace Wins  #HopeLives

Simple Compassion

Two voices and two poems for the ‘1000 Voices of Compassion movement. The first by my daughter and the second by me.  Please enjoy and never doubt that you do and will make a difference, the question is what kind of difference will you make? #1000Speak

1000Speak~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Be kind to others in need.
Be kind and loving to others.
Even if they’re not kind and loving to you.
Have compassion for your sisters and brothers,
for God is waiting for you to be loving, just as He is.
For there will be people coming.
You will need to help these people.
Even if they’re not kind and loving to you.
For I tell you nothing is to small,
for it is simple enough to just have COMPASSION.

~Muppin ©2015, Age 10
♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

How are you she asked.
“I don’t know. “
Was my halting reply.
Staring back I was thinking,
I don’t understand
As you stand before me
Passively with outstretched hand
compassion seems small
the kindness before a fall
grace and love is all
What do you want she asked next.
“I don’t know. “
I answered again
As my mind continued to turn.
It doesn’t make sense
Are these wishes just this
Prayers disguised as defense
compassion may be
the best of life we will see
love for you and me
What do you need she then asked.
“Simple compassion.”
I responded without hesitation.
My thoughts still churning.
The pain I now feel
Is the result of a past connection
That was once so real
compassion is love
through redemptive action of
grace, mercy and love

~Mark Schutter ©2015 > #JustBelieve  #GraceWins  #HopeLives

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Compassion #1000Speak – Why?

So, what is this post all about? Short answer: a little glimpse into who I am and why COMPASSION and the 1000 Voices for Compassion movement is important to me. So let’s get started, shall we?.

I am an artist but then aren’t we all?

The Background: Our lives are our masterpieces that we create each day either by addition, subtraction, building up or tearing down. I attempt to capture moments through my art: using pictures and words to encourage and shine a light into dark places.

What seems another lifetime ago I stood silently holding the hand of someone I planned to spend the rest of my life with. Feeling wholly helpless I could only watch her die from the evil cancer that ravaged her young body. I have traversed my own valley of shadows, and occasionally I will wander and find myself back there in that dark. I have cried, screamed, railed and bargained against the seeming injustice of it all and the randomness of another beautiful life gone. I pitied myself; while many tried to show me compassion, kindness and tenderness.

“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal.” ~CS Lewis

I have slowly realized over 20 years later that my own pain should not and must not be the focus. Every person is fighting a battle and most of us have no idea. I know that many I have encountered over the years never see my scars for I carry them on the inside. The pain hidden deep, I retreat like a frightened child.

I am now slowly rebuilding my life on a belief and hope that there is a reason to the seeming madness of this world. I have since married a wonderful women who loves me in spite of my hypocritical and narcissistic self. I watched the birth of our daughter and have cherished watching her grow into a precious and loving ten-year old little lady.

Why it is Important to Me: From life to death and back to life my journey has taken me there. Life will go on, we do not get that choice.  It only matters what we do with our lives.

Now, in what I like to refer to as the second chapter of my life; I wish to share the joys, the sorrows, the hope and maybe even inspire someone on this crazy wonderful journey that we call life. I believe in the ‘ripple effect’, touch one life and you may touch the world.  The world craves compassion and we should freely give it both to others and to ourselves.

“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

This movement of over a 1000 strong participants posting about COMPASSION on February 20, 2015 is important to me. For I know that love will win. We must have compassion for each other and for ourselves. We can only do the best we can and often that is good enough. I will be posting on February 20th, which will include a special piece written by my daughter. You are more than you know!

I borrowed and plagiarized the following from the blog of Lizzi Rogers, one of the co-creators of this great event. (Thanks Lizzi! 🙂 )

What you can do: JOIN IN!

I have not seen a lot of men among the over 1000 participants, so guys consider this my challenge to you.  It is not to late to join in.  You don’t have to spill your guts – promise – but if you take part somehow, on ANY kind of social media platform, on February 20th, letting the world know that you’re putting something out there for 1000Speak, and relating something to do with compassion and why it matters to you, then you add weight and unique perspective to the movement.

Join us on Facebook

Find us at the 1000Speak blog

Use the #1000Speak hashtag on Twitter and Instagram

Promote this movement everywhere you can, and keep checking back to see how it’s going. Spread the word – we can’t do it alone.

We really are stronger together – 1000Speak needs YOU! Join the village, and BRING the difference.

wpid-img_20140612_122453.jpgIf you have read this far, thank you and I leave you with this.  I need a drink 🙂 because being this transparent as I have on this blog about my life, my failings and my journey is a little scary.   But hey, it is who I am and so I will be kind to myself.  Be kind to yourselves and remember show compassion to everyone you meet! ~M

Love and Compassion – What do you want me to do for you?

Love and CompassionAs they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David !”  The crowd sternly told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.  ~Matthew 20:29-34 (NASB)

The bible records that wherever Jesus went people cried out Him, especially those shunned by society, the outcasts, and the rejects, those who had lost all hope the things of this world, in others and in any ability to save themselves. 

Isn’t this still true today?  Even after 2000 years, when we are hurt, lost and without hope; is it then that we cry out to God?  I wonder if in those moments those who profess no belief in God also find themselves calling out to something larger and beyond themselves.

What strikes me was the response of Jesus; he stops, calls to them and simply asks, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

Jesus gave no indication that He knew what they wanted.  He simply asked and waited for them to answer. Could it be true that Jesus, often in a still small voice, is asking this very same question even today, to you and to me? “What do you want Me to do for you?”

So I leave you with this – maybe we should also be asking this question of others?  Many are yearning and waiting for someone, anyone to ask them this question.  So set aside your own agenda and thinking that you know exactly how to solve the problem and ask.

The blind men knew exactly what they wanted Jesus to do for them, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.”  Clear and straight to the point was their answer as I suspect those in need also know exactly what they may need in that moment but no one ever asks.  We give them our answers, our promises, even our good intentions but we do not ask what do they truly want.

I believe that love and compassion first starts here. In order for us to meet a need at that still point and to truly fulfill it we must first ask the question and wait for an answer.  Even if the question is asked silently within the halls of our own hearts.

Just Believe ~ Grace Wins ~ Hope Lives
1000 Voices for Compassion