November 9, 2008
By Kayla Anderson, Great Meadows, NJ

Something the world is after. Something that is sought out by most but reachable for little.

You see, compassion is another verb for love. This is how I see it at least.
When I start to lose sight of love and its ability to affect those around me I take a step back and look around me.

I focus on my family.
I see my Aunts; bubbling with love and so ready to give it.
I see my uncles; quiet but steady, love given out subtly but strongly.
I see my fragile grandma; passing her knowledge and worries to protect those around her.
I see my stubborn old grandpa; hard knowing eyes and a quick temper, but when looking past the grouchy scowl you see he’s just a big teddy bear.

For the most part I see my cousins, and their astounding potential. It's probably because we are all so close in age that I can look to them and see aspiring greatness. God has so much in store for them, that very thought of it makes my heart swell with pride. Each and everyone of them have been through hardships that I could not begin to relate to. But they made it in the end, in their own way, finding once again what it really means to be happy again. All I wish for them is happiness and to love and be loved in return unconditionally.

But the greatest example of compassion is one I witness first hand everyday. My parents.
They bounce off each other and complete one another in every way. They hold up my family with their strong capable hands. I adore their ability to see the joke in any possible situation.
My dad with his little kid heart. His willingness to accept everything around him and patience is what truly keeps my mom grounded and smiling, (something we never want her to lose).
My mom with her ability to relate to anyone and make them feel at home. She brings out the confidence in all of us (especially my dad).

My sister finds compassion and understanding in things most people would not think twice about. She truly is a free bird. She does her own thing and doesn't care who’s watching. She finds happiness in the smallest of things. Her smiles and ability to see beauty in everything is truly the inspiration everyone needs to feel. She is an old soul and her innocence is rare in this day of age.

A new addition to my household is my Nana. She has the quickest mind even if, at times, her body doesn’t keep up. I both love and respect her never ending knowledge. But that’s not what I appreciate most about her. It's those rare moments when she thinks no one is paying attention, that I love the most about her. She finds her inner child once again and that crackling spark is back into her clear blue eyes. Her smiles are careless and wonderful, lighting up her face and showing me where my mom got all her charm from.

So when I start to feel like the world has lost sight of love and its power to heal, bring people together and open hearts up, I look to my family. Because even though they might not be aware of the impact they cause, I am. I see the influence of love in each and everyone of them and it gives me the gift of bliss. Because if they're happy and undeniable life is reflected in their vivid eyes, I can possess hope. Hope, that one day the world can be as compassionate as my family.

The author's comments:
My family is and will always be my inspiration.

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