My dad works for a food organization that travels to rural areas to offer food, medical assistance as well as entertainment. Recently I went with him to one of thier conventions. I was there simply to give people directions, hand them a flyer and send Ihem on their way. It was hot and tiring, and I wasn't having much fun. Honestly, I didn' t really care, and ended up doing it halfheartedly.

Then I saw two girls who had I same task I did, but were smiling and happy. They walked up to people who looked lost and asked them if they needed help, instead of waiting for people to find them. An elderly woman wobbled over to one while the other approached a toothless, foul-smelling man with rags draped over his sickly body. saw the first girl talking courteously to the old woman and then smile as she gave her a reassuring hug. Meanwhile the second girl said, "Hello, sir. Is there something I can help you with today ?" SIR? SIR!! She spoke to this man as though he were important! It seemed preposterous. Was I hearing her correctly? Why would she talk to a bum from the street as though he was a colonel in the army?

She showed compassion. Because she cared about this man and wanted him to feel loved and important, she showed respect. He raised his chin just a lad when she called him "Sir." Rolling his shoulders back, he felt her reaching out to him in that simple phrase, and his tired, wrinkled face sparkled. As for the old woman -I stood awe. Never in my life had I seen a moment that displayed such care and love. Yes, this is what compassion is all about.

To love another is not only to recognize the need, but also to express warm sympathy toward that need. It is giving people what they need even when they are too afraid to ask. After seeing the compassion those girls so freely expressed, I knew I could do my job better.

A little girl walked over to me, holding her mother's hand. I smiled, because I cared. I cared about what she needed and wanted, about her sorrows and disappointments. I truly cared! It gave me happiness and a glow that can only be felt when you do something right. Happiness grew to perseverance -to keep going because I could do something to impact another. And so I not only experienced the glow, but also kept it burning in my heart.

Taking time to show compassion in my life has made a difference in my character and who I am. It is definitely the ultimate principle to live by Compassion is the key. Holding it, I open every room to let the sunshine flow in.