As long as I can remember I have had a compassionate view toward people. I know that sounds too generic so let me give some examples.
Kids being corrected out loud by an out of control parent in public, an obviously very sick elderly patient waiting to see the doctor by themself, someone driving a car that is so banged up and taped together in places you wonder if it is legal to drive, a woman eating alone with her head in a book trying to make everyone around her think she wants it this way, the physically handicapped part of our population, people we know who always seem to have one crisis after another in their life, and what in the world do we do with the men and women that stand at certain intersections holding a sign and in need of more than money...to name a few. My children have been irritated at my attempt to defend someone, even if they don't really need or deserve defending. I don't mean to try to make me sound like a great person, I have done my share of being critical! But I know I attempt to make eye contact that seems genuine, or speak to or open the door for anyone I think might need noticed in a kind way. It probably helped that my parents were very involved in the lives of a family in the community where I lived growing up of a mom and four children, three of whom were retarded. I cannot begin to guess the times I rode with my mom or dad to pick them up and carry them home from church. My dad was a car business owner and I knew many times he was given homegrown vegetables because he had helped someone with a car payment or repair. Whether it is because I was born with a compassionate heart or because it was modeled before me or some of both, all I know is how relieved I am that I have been kind and not rude to people that may be different than the norm because now I know how they feel! Starting with a difference in my speech and now adding a choppy walk with Jeff hovering to catch me if I lose balance, I feel eyes lingering just a little longer like they are trying to figure it out. I remember the first morning at the drive through window of a Starbucks after struggling through my order, I thought, they probably think I am drunk and it's only nine o'clock! Determined to still be able to use the drive through I began to drive directly to the window so that even if we had to work through my order they could see by my appearance that I was alert! Jeff and I recently stopped to get some dinner to go for me and as we went to pay I said something to him and the lady taking our money asked him if I was deaf! Really! Jeff said, no she's not! We laughed when we got outside at her logic or lack of to ask such a question right on front of me! Everything we experience provides an opportunity to learn. For me, losing some of the " normalcy" of my physical posture or verbal ability has placed me in a position of developing a new image of myself. It isn't quite as easy or as comfortable in situations where people don't know me and a great reminder of the need everyone has to be accepted as normal. We don't live in a perfect world but we can make a better one by just treating everyone as normal, no matter their circumstance.