Day 6: Compassion For Yourself

We had just finished archery class at the indoor range at The Loft in downtown Cleveland on Tuesday night.

It was just me, Karen and our coach, Bill. He’s a tall, quiet man who on first impression looks like he could bite your head off.

I used to be a bit intimidated by his stern face. Not any more. He’s teaching me how to have a strong bow arm, a better anchor and to draw so I feel it in my back, not my shoulder.

He’s also teaching me about compassion. He has a sister with MS in a nursing home. When his cell phone rings, if it’s her, he always takes the call. The only time he missed coaching a class was when she was in the hospital. He’s not just her brother, he’s her guardian angel. His compassion goes beyond the norm. 

Just as we were packing up to leave the range this week, Karen saw something black on the floor. “I think it’s a bird,” she said. 

The archery range is on the fourth floor of an old warehouse. It gets hot in the summer so Bill had opened a door to let a breeze in. Apparently, the bird got in, too.

What to do?

Bill looked around for an open window high above us. Was there any way for it to escape? Nope. He bent down to see if it was wounded. The bird flew away. Straight into a glass window. Boink! Poor thing. It lay dazed on the floor.

 Before Bill could try again, the bird took off and flew. Straight into a glass wall. Boink! Oh, it was heart breaking. This bird would kill itself if we left it alone. It couldn’t tell glass from air.

Bill didn’t give up. He grabbed two paper towels and bent down so the paper towels formed a little tent over the creature. He gently scooped the bird into his big hands. He held it tenderly and carefully, walked to the door and set the bird down outside on a landing.

 Just as he was saying, “I hope it isn’t dead,” the bird flew away.

We watched it soar. 

His act of compassion stayed with me all week. Sometimes I’m like that bird. I am my own worst enemy.

When I can’t find my way out of a problem, I often panic and throw myself into crazy busy action that clearly won’t help me and often harms me. I tend to resist the very help that could free me.

I’d like to become as tender with me as Bill was with that bird.

Imagine how much higher I could soar.