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How I found compassion

Updated on February 20, 2014

It was a true story and the boy was just like me.


Although we were worlds apart, he touched my heart. Mine was cold, hard like stone. My mind was uncaring, manipulating, controlling.

I found power in those things and I was becoming good at them. I liked the power, I suppose everybody does. But it was wrong. I hurt those around me with my indifference. I didn’t care. Never cried and never felt much emotion. (hardly ever anyway) I don’t know why, there was no reason for my attitude. Perhaps it is a normal part of becoming a teenager. Perhaps I thought it made me cool, but it really didn't.

And then I met the boy.

His story was buried deep in the Reader’s Digest my parents had delivered to the house each month. I was only 13, lived at home and loved to read everything in sight.

My heart was about to change.

He was only 12, cold like me; hard, tough and unbreakable. But I saw in him emptiness and loneliness. He was lost, filled with anger and hate. He had a reason I didn’t have, his parents didn’t love him.

Neglected and abandoned most of his life, he grew up on the streets. No protection, no one to care, he had to fight just to eat. But someone found him and took him in, to a shelter with kids just like him. He ignored the others, talked to no one, never laughed or smiled. No one could reach him, no matter how kind. They didn’t know what to do. The months went by and still he withdrew, they were afraid he would run away.


Then Christmas came and under the tree was a present just for him. Christmas was new to him, the lights, the music, the excitement. He had never had a present before.

He felt excitement build within. He tried not to smile. It was hard to stay distant. Who could blame him? He was still just a kid. He dreamed about what was inside the mysterious gift.

Would it be a baseball glove and bat? Legos or Tinker toys? A new book all his own that had never been read before? The possibilities were endless.

Everyone else had opened their gifts and still his remained perfectly wrapped. He savored the anticipation. This was a new experience for him and he wanted it to last as long as possible. Finally he could stand it no longer and off the paper came.

His gift was a simple Teddy bear, a baby’s toy in his mind. A lifetime of disappointments, crushed hopes, despair and rejection welled up inside him. He couldn’t hold it back one more time.

With an angry shout, “stupid bear, stupid baby present, stupid, stupid!” He grabbed the bear, ripped its head off, and ran crying from the room.

The adults looked at one another and sighed. They had given him their best, this wasn’t working out. They would find a new place for him in the morning. Perhaps someone else would be able to reach him before it was too late. They had failed. There was nothing else to do.

But the story wasn’t over.

After everyone had gone out to play and the room was quiet and empty the boy snuck back in.

He was found there later by the kind lady who ran the place. Tears of remorse and regret for his actions were running down his face. He held the teddy gently in his hands. Desperately he was trying to push the stuffing back in and tape it back together. No one had ever cared enough to give him a present before. He was deeply sorry for destroying the only symbol of love he had ever had in his life.

Regardless of what it was.

The lady walked over to the cabinet and pulled out a sewing kit. Gently taking the bear from the young boy’s hands, she sewed it back together. It wasn’t perfect, but when she handed it back to him she was well rewarded.

He had the most beautiful smile she had ever seen.

Tears ran down my face as I pictured the boy with his roll of tape, trying to fix his little bear. I cried for him, but I also cried for myself. How could I, who had everything, be so cold and controlling? While this boy, who had nothing, was able to feel sorry for his actions?

The boy was a different person after that. He stayed at the Home and opened his heart to the love around him. He blossomed and grew into a beautiful person.

I was different too.

I had been given a glimpse into the future. I saw how lonely the path I was on would turn. I didn’t want to be the person I was becoming.

I asked God for compassion. And promised to become the person He wanted me to be.

I no longer wanted to be arrogant and selfish. I felt sorry for my actions and attitudes. For the first time, I understood that my pride was sin. In fact, everything about me was sinful.

For some reason this story helped me to see that sin hurt people. That was why it deserved punishment. Thankfully I already knew that Jesus Christ had died to take that punishment for me. I knew if I repented I would be forgiven. I responded by becoming a slave to Jesus Christ.

I gave him my life and vowed to do all he asks me to do.

Now my life is not perfect but it is good. As long as I am obeying God, I am at peace. Even when my life seems to be falling apart around me, or I don’t know how I’m going to make it around the next bend.

Sometimes I grow stubborn and insist on having my own way. Then things don’t work out so well until I remember that God loves me and he knows what is best.

Then I repent and once again I’m forgiven and all is well.

Years later as an adult I found myself working at a children’s shelter. It wasn’t until someone commented on how compassionate I was that I remembered asking God for just that. I realized that He had answered my prayer spoken so many years before. I had forgotten about almost the same moment it was uttered. The memory lost in the discovery of so many new things in that instant.

But God didn’t forget.

And that is how I found compassion.


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    • profile image

      April 2 years ago

      She is very beautiful. I am really glad she is doing better.

      My sister's cancer is back. I think she will be ok but it is really hard on her family.

      How are you doing?

    • April Reynolds profile image

      April Reynolds 2 years ago from Arizona

      I am sorry to hear that she had to go through cancer, I hope she is doing better now. I am glad that you are talking to each other again.

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 2 years ago

      Her two year-old is taking care of her right now.

      Any way, Mother and I have been talking to each other again. She had cancer and went to a nunnery for about a year. We've been mostly talking about how we are being made into perfect unity with Christ as we search him and we will both be his bride and not two brides but one bride.

      I had her get a white wedding dress and she's been wearing and loving it much as of late and she is beautiful in it.

    • April Reynolds profile image

      April Reynolds 2 years ago from Arizona

      Hello my friend, I am good.

      How are you doing? Are you taking another latin class this semester?

      I was camping this weekend. It was fun but it is good to be back to living in a house.

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 2 years ago

      how is april?

    • April Reynolds profile image

      April Reynolds 2 years ago from Arizona

      Good morning Mr. P, and Merry Christmas! I am also hoping that I will be able to get back to writing in the new year.

      I have finally discovered the cause of my health problems (concussion) and will hopefully be feeling better soon!

      I hope all is well with you and yours!

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Back in your corner again just to see how you are doing after reading your comment on "Wake Me Oh I Pray." I hope you had a very wonder-filled Christmas and that 2016 will see many influencing Hubs coming from your productive writings here and elsewhere.

      I came back to add that a gifted Bible teacher once commented that the Sadducees didn't believe in resurrections, "and that's why they are sad you see."

    • profile image

      april 3 years ago

      Yes Daniel, that would be very difficult. Sometime I wonder if it is fear or insecurity that keeps the ones who should love us from being able to show it. I hope that someday you will be accepted for who you are by those who should love you most.

    • profile image

      april reynolds 3 years ago

      Hi Jackie, I'm sorry I missed your comment so long ago! thank you for your visit. I do agree that being hurt is better than cold any day and have at times made the choice to allow myself to be hurt rather than to shut out love. it sure takes a lot of forgiveness though, but always worth it!

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 3 years ago

      It's hard to feel love when the people you are surrounded by want you imprisoned longer and don't love you at all but want you to be what they want you to be.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Beautiful story and I wanted to cry for you both; but happy tears. I was hardhearted for awhile so I couldn't be hurt; but hurt beats cold any day I am sure you know now.

    • April Reynolds profile image

      April Reynolds 4 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you lifegate, God really used that story to humble me and show me how my pride would lead to a miserable life. Giving my life over to Him to rule had lead to so much peace that I don't ever regret it when I'm obeying Him. Thank you for the visit!

    • April Reynolds profile image

      April Reynolds 4 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you Cook Book, I appreciate your visit and encouragement. I'll have to try some of your chicken, looks good!

    • April Reynolds profile image

      April Reynolds 4 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you Mr. P! God is so amazing, it's so much easier when we let Him change our hearts instead of trying to change them ourselves. Thanks for the visit and encouragement :)

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      What a wonderful story and personal application in your own life. May we all learn from the little boy - and you!

    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 4 years ago from India

      Good hub and well written, voted up :)

    • profile image

      Perspycacious 4 years ago

      I already knew that you were compassionate. No one can be touchefd by God as you are and not be. (Like, Awesome, Interesting)