“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
I find being human a struggle. On the one hand, we are born, and we spend the rest of our lives trying to survive. We look out for our best interests, strive to find the best value for money, make sure we stay away from people and things that might drag us down.
And on the other hand, we have feelings. We feel guilt, happiness, fear, anger, and one that is surprisingly hard to cultivate: compassion.
It's hard to cultivate compassion because it requires looking past the things that make us uncomfortable as humans. I means we have to face things that are scarred, broken, and frightening, and to try to see the human on the inside. And it's not just for strangers. It's for our enemies, the people who we want to be around the very least. It's hard for me. I struggle with it daily, not just because I believe it will make me a better person, but because I would want someone to do the same for me.
I really can't remember how I stumbled on it, but I came across this article about a man who gives free haircuts to the homeless on his days off. His name is Mark Bustos, and he runs a hair salon in New York City. He started giving free haircuts in his home country of the Philippines while visiting his family, and decided to carry on doing it back in NYC. So, every Sunday, he goes out looking for people who might appreciate a haircut.
He makes sure he does it out in the open, where people can see what he is doing, not so that they can see him, so that others can find inspiration in the good deed, and be kind to those less unfortunate as well. And when he is finished, he shows them how they look and offers to pay for a meal. One man looked at himself, then looked at Mark and asked, "Do you know anyone that's hiring?"
He posts photos of these haircuts on his Instagram account. Looking through each photo reminded me that every one of those people were just... people. Not numbers, not bums. And that means that they are the same as me.
"Every human life is worth the same," he says.
From Markbustos on Instagram
Today, I am inspired by people like Mark who remind me that it costs nothing to be kind. Putting away my arrogance and frustration is freeing. Being compassionate with an extra dollar or two for the food bank is little effort for so much gain. I refuse to become hardened in a world that requires me to be tough.
Maybe that's why I love my yarn so much: a strand soft and flexible, strong when pulled, even stronger when developed into fabric, but pleasant all the same. I could be that, too. So there, hard world. So there.