December 13, 2007
By Debbie Charalambakis, Nicholasville, KY

What if our world became additionally concerned for the people around us? Would it hurt to ask someone who is crying if they’re alright? Even if it’s someone we don’t talk to, or like very much? What about across the oceans? Would people ever be concerned about the genocide in Africa? I think that we could improve ourselves if we put more focus about such concerns. I believe that compassion leads to helping others.

In the middle of October, on a Thursday, we had received a phone call from a close friend of our family that her fifty-two year old husband had a heart attack the night before. It was astonishingly shocking to us. “How could this have happened?” We thought. “He’s extremely healthy.” “Will he be okay?” Those words seemed to be playing back in my mind, and that was the BIG question for the next few days. We were constantly praying for them and thinking of them in our thoughts. We knew that the family, were spending their hours at the hospital, so we had the idea of cooking meals for them. On Sunday after church, we decided to visit them at the hospital. They were deeply thankful for us to have come and visit them. They began telling us that he was doing much better—speaking slowly, remembering specific things, and recognizing the faces of his family. I’m glad we chose to be helpful, it was worth it! It even made me feel a lot better.

But being compassionate didn’t stop there. I never thought that people would ever look up to me as a role-model, until this girl began asking me for advice about ‘being a Christian.’ She started to tell me that she was sick of her life, the people she was around with, and that she wanted a change. She asked me questions such as, ‘Am I going to hell?’ ‘What’s it like being a Christian?’ ‘When is Jesus coming back?’ I was so surprised, for one thing, she wanted to change, and also for asking such questions! As I got home, I thought to myself very hard, ‘Am I really the person to give her advice? Why isn’t she going to a pastor, a counselor, or even a teacher? Why me?’ There had to be a specific reason why she came up to me. I went to my parents and discussed this situation with them, and they said that I could help her. I just had to be careful with the things I said. I knew inside that I wanted to give her advice, so the next day I tried my best to answer most of her questions that I could. Since then, I’ve been asked from others to state my opinion or give them my advice.

In this experience of guiding others to the right direction, I’ve discovered that they aren’t the only ones who are in need of help. I was in sixth grade, and my sister was in eighth. I never thought that something so big could tear up my friendship with her when anorexia began existing in her life. I would constantly feel a cold-shiver running down my spine when I overheard how much she weighed. I grew so angry with her, I wasn’t able to look at her in the eye, be with her in the same room, or talk to her. I basically hated her for what she was doing to herself. My parents asked me so many times to support her, and be a friend to her. But I was too furious with her and beyond stubborn I said to them, “No! Not to a person who I’m suppose to look up to, and basically kills themselves. Absolutely not!” I didn’t even care if she heard me say such awful things about her. I was infuriated.
After three years of not getting along with my sister, something indescribable hit me this past summer. I realized that I was so selfish, and so inconsiderate, I always asked myself, “How could I have been so self-centered and not take of her?” It killed me like a bomb went off inside my body. As I came to my senses, she gradually came to hers. She began eating more and more each day, and actually put effort into it. She’s made such amazing improvement, even today. If I decided to keep avoiding her, I don’t want to even think about the outcome of what would have happened to her.

‘Compassion is all about helping others less fortunate.’ This quote relates to me in so many ways, I’m unable to describe it. In my past experiences, it is 100 percent true, without a doubt that encouraging others, really does build each other up.

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