You are really, really small

Looking through the tiny window on the plane, two thoughts came to mind. It was nice to be back in the air again, travelling around our amazing country. Also, people are small from up here. (It had been a while since I last flew – sometimes I forget things).

The further you get in the air, the harder it is to engage with what is happening on the ground. Not only does it get harder to see everything that is happening, but it is harder to comprehend the sheer enormity of life on our planet.

For example, in my head, at any given moment, there are at least three different conversations happening. One about the thing that I am doing right then. One about the things that I want to do next. And one about every single mistake that I have ever made in the past. (Mostly the last conversation focuses on times that I have been socially awkward).

Then, in my household, at any given moment, there are at least fifteen different conversations happening. Four internal conversations about what each person is doing right then. Four internal conversations about what each person wants to do next. Four internal conversations about what each person has done before. And three verbal conversations between the people in the household. Some of them are louder than others, because, well…kids.

In my street, at any given moment, there are at least ninety conversations happening. And I live on a small street.

You get where I am going with this. The more you take a step back and look at the world around you, the more complex the world can seem. It can be overwhelming.

The good news here, is that in the moments when I become all consumed by my challenges, my problems and my frustrations, the more I take a step back and expand my view and see those in my household, my street, community and world, the smaller my problems seem to get. Because we all have challenges and obstacles, and we are all trying our best to work through them, which means we are not alone in that.

To a plane flying overhead, I am really, really small. And so are my problems. I find comfort in that.

Forged in the Fire

Think of the most generous person you know. If you were to tell me their story, I have no doubt that they have been through some pretty heavy stuff in their life. Yet, somehow, they have made it through all of that and still have a generous mindset.

The reason is that generosity is forged in the fire of adversity.

Not everyone who goes through life challenges emerges as a generous warrior, but the ones that do are very special. Because their generosity is birthed from empathy. They know what it is like to go through difficulties, and they also know how important it is to have people around you who can support you during those times, so they are looking for ways to do that for other people.

As we look across our world we see so many people in need, suffering under the weight of global issues outside of their control. It can be overwhelming because each person has a name, a story, desires for what they want in life, and a potential that is yet to be discovered.

It is empathy that keeps us from becoming overwhelmed and instead, drives us towards generosity. Towards action. Towards seeing each person and seeking to understanding what life is like for them.

Empathy is generosity. Just ask your generous friend.