good life by lindsay ross
Part of cultivating a good life is choosing compassion over judgment.
My brother is an alcoholic/addict. During his decades-long struggle with drugs and alcohol, our family tried everything to help him. Compassion, love, anger, pleading, support, guilt, force, tough love. You name it, we tried it. And for the record, that whole tough love thing was NOT easy for our family. It was horrific really.
Because of the choices he was making and the boundaries we set as a family (specifically no “using” while in our homes), my brother ended up homeless several times (when he wasn’t in jail). He found himself begging for money and food and a place to sleep to stay alive. We never gave up on him. We never shut him out of our lives. And we were always willing to help him as long as he was trying as hard as we were.
As I was talking to him years later about being homeless (during a period of sobriety), he said something that changed me forever. There are a lot of unimaginable and awful things that accompany being homeless. But he said the worst part about his experience was the way people treated him–either with complete disgust, contempt, and shame, or, even worse, like he wasn’t even there. People would look right past him as though he didn’t even exist. When he said that, I immediately felt shame because I knew I was guilty of doing that very thing at times.
The truth is, it’s easy to judge and easy to assume why people are in the situations they’re in. And my brother was the stereotypical person who was homeless because he drank and did drugs. But…he is MY brother. Just like everyone we see in moments of desperation and need (for whatever reason) is someone’s brother, sister, mother, father, child. And I am forever grateful to the people who chose compassion over judgment and helped my brother when I couldn’t. Those helpers (in their various forms) literally kept my brother alive. They helped him. They helped my family.
Everyone has their “thing(s).” Everyone struggles. Everyone suffers. Everyone hurts sometimes. Because of the many experiences I’ve had during my life and the endless lessons I have learned from having a brother who is an alcoholic, I do my best to cultivate a good life by choosing compassion over judgment and remembering that we’re meant to take care of each other. “In the quiet heart is hidden, sorrow that the eye can’t see.”
Note from Becky
In November, our team headed to Salt Lake City for Pinners Conference, which was our first time ever exhibiting at a consumer show. We had loads of work to do during set-up… much more than we anticipated, truthfully. So in a desperate plea for help, I mentioned on social media that we could use some help if there happened to be any locals who were available. Of course we sent them home with lots of Project Life® goodies, so it was a fun win-win for everyone.
Anyway — Lindsay Ross was among the first to show up. She pushed up her sleeves, got to work, and never stopped. She even popped into my classroom during the show and helped out again. We all looked at each other like, who is this angel?? And she is. For the very short time we’ve known Lindsay, we LOVE her heart. She’s a giver. She has such a rich character. And as it turns out, she ended up being selected as one of our 2015 Creative Team, focusing specifically on the app. We’re so blessed to have her as a part of our growing PL family and most definitely blessed by her message today. This world needs more compassion and less judgment for sure. Amen to that!