#1000Speak – Jesse and the man in the suit – Compassion isn’t complicated

The ‪#‎1000Speak‬ day of compassion -compassion awareness- is here! On the 20th, (which for some of us is now) bloggers from around the globe will be posting their stories and thoughts about compassion. I hope you are blessed enough to read many of them, all of them!

I also hope you join us in spreading this message of compassion. Sometimes it’s easy to find ourselves wondering if there is any compassion left in this world . . . there is and it is beautiful.

Help us reach as many hearts as we can by sharing, liking, and tweeting the #1000Speak posts you come across.

Be a part of compassion in action!

Click the little blue linky frog following the post to add your #1000Speak links.

~ I hope you come back and visit me throughout the day ~ I’ll be sharing more of my own thoughts on compassion, I’d love to share them with you . . .

I am a consummate people watcher, seeing people outside of their inner circles, their comfort zones, and their safety nets while out shopping and running errands is fascinating. People tend to be at their most real when out and about, alone, without putting on pretenses for the people they are closest to. The masks so many of us often wear come off and the trueness of self shows.

It’s not always pretty what lies beneath.

Some people wear their compassion on their sleeve for all to see. It is simply who they are. Others wear it as a mask they sometimes forget to hide behind.

“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.” Henri J.M. Nouwen

I know of a man who gave of what he had; he gave generous donations to charities, he dropped off no longer needed items to be delivered and dispersed among the needy. He gave, and he gave often. Most saw these actions as the good works of a compassionate man leading an altruistic life.

To the ones benefiting from his philanthropic endeavors he was exactly those things, but he did these things not out of compassion as much as he did them for the accolades and the nice tax write-offs he received. In his daily dealings he was cold and selfish. He would walk past a thirsty man without giving a second glance on his way to buy an expensive cup of coffee, and he did just that almost every day.

Photo by Irene WilsonI know of another man; he used to sit on the corner by that same coffee shop the wealthy man frequented, he never asked for anything. He sat there at the corner, watching people go by, accepting whatever kindnesses they offered. He was gracious with his gratitude when they stopped, he always said “God bless you as He has blessed me.

If a kind stranger brought him something to eat or drink from the coffee shop, he gave the first portion of it to his little dog, his best friend. If you asked him what he would like, he’d say his pooch would love a sip of water and if they have any world peace, he wouldn’t mind a bit of that. Mostly, he just wanted someone to sit and chat with him a while. I have a feeling if he saw someone walking by without shoes, he would have offered them his own.

He was a compassionate man. I don’t see him there at the corner by the coffee shop anymore, I often wonder where he is and hope wherever it is, he is warm and happy. Sometimes, I get a little emotional when I look over to where he used to sit, singing old church hymns and petting his little dog.

I think about all the people who walked right by him, who looked his way and never saw him. I’m sure most were wonderful people, perhaps kind and compassionate in many ways, but they walked by him. Purposely not looking. If they could have done nothing else for him, a smile may have been just compassionate enough to ease the trials he had to endure that day.

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” Mother Teresa

The man in the fancy suit who wrote monthly donation checks is just a small dot in my memory, he has no face, no name, no real reason for being in my mind except to serve as an example of what compassion is not.

The other man, his name was Jesse and I can still see his sweet smile when I think about him. The one who had photo by Irene Wilsonnothing to give gave more than the man in the fancy suit will likely give in his entire lifetime every time he said, “God bless you as He has blessed me.

You see, compassion isn’t complicated. It just isn’t.

People seem to think it’s some enormous endeavor, when really, it’s quite simple. You do what you can for others when you can, with what you have and if all you have is a smile and a prayer, give it to them. Give it to everyone.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

There is no such thing as someone unworthy of our compassion, maybe the ones we feel the most unworthy recipients are the ones who need it the most, if for no other reason than to keep our hearts from becoming jaded, cold, and cruel. For this reason, I still pray for the man in the suit and hope he too, is warm and happy.

Doing nothing for others is the undoing of ourselves. Horace Mann

Crystal R. Cook

Photo credit – Irene Wilson

Click the little froggy guy below to share YOUR #1000Speak links! 

#1000Speak Topic Reveal – Sort of.



Since I decided to add my voice to #1000Speak, compassion has been a constant on my mind and in my heart. I’ve found myself actively seeking out compassion, in part, to reassure myself it still exists.

It does.

I’m a little late for the topic reveal party because I’ve not been able to pin down just what it is I want to say. Defining compassion is huge, in reading all the beautiful sentiments and statements my fellow #1000Speak bloggers have been sharing, I find myself feeling very small. Compassion. Is. HUGE.

It is more than a word, more than an action; it’s just so huge.

I’ve been attempting to define it in some way, but really, compassion is uniquely defined by every individual in a personal way, the givers and the receivers. The dictionary definition for compassion is far too simplistic an explanation, mere words cannot encompass the enormity of it.

For my part, on February 20th, I am going to do my best to define what compassion is, at least what it is to me. I’ve been scribbling down thoughts in notebooks and scraps of paper for weeks, now it’s time to compile them and see what they become.

Crystal R. Cook

He was nine when he wrote it – This is how autism sometimes speaks.


Compassion comes in many forms, I think on this day, my son’s capacity for compassion and empathy and understanding of a world we so often take for granted shone bright in its innocence and purity . . .

imageThere are those who say autistic people do not have the capability to feel empathy or compassion or relate to the emotional world around them. I know this to be untrue, they may express these feelings differently than others, but they are more than capable of feeling them.

When my children were young we spent many afternoons in the park. Sometimes, when I drive past it, I can almost see them playing there, I hear their innocent laughter between the beats of my heart. One of these outings stands out in my memory, it was a beautiful and brisk autumn day, the perfect kind of day for something special.

Two of my four children are autistic, one is quite social and loves to run and play, the other is very much the opposite. He prefers to be still, watching, listening, taking in everything around him. While his brothers and sister quickly ran out into the open field to play, he spent the afternoon with his arms wrapped around a tree, he wrote this poem when he got home, he was nine years old.


The wind chills me
as I walk the path
through the park

I hear a small voice
that is heard with my heart
It says “come to me”

I search for the source
of the mystical voice
there is only a single tree
ancient and weathered
roots exposed to the sun and the rain

The voice draws me nearer
and I see tiny little ants
crawling about
in search of food

I knew it was not them
that called out to me

I look to the top of the tree
the bare branches sadden me
I touch the tree
and feel enormous pain

Somehow the tree had spoken to me
maybe it is my gift

I sit next to the giant trunk
and speak to it for a while
it forgets its pain

I wrap my arms around it
as far as I can reach
I press my forehead
against the bumpy surface
and I think it’s thoughts
and I feel all that it feels
and it is thankful

Wilson Cook

1000 Voices Speak for Compassion

Ready to get compassionate?

1000 Voices Speak for Compassion


It’s February, and that means we are one month closer to warmer weather, and more importantly, it also means February 20th is right around the corner! On that day, the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion crew will begin spreading compassion across the interwebs like a wildfire.

Actually, they’ve already begun. You may have heard of us or seen #1000Speak somewhere while surfing the net, if you haven’t clicked on it, googled it, or become a voice, you might just want to give it a look-see. We would love to hear your voice.

What does compassion mean to you? Have you witnessed compassion in action? Have you been compassion in action?

Tell the world about it!

Sometimes, when so much of what we see is negative, we feel like there is nothing we can do to change things. It’s all so big and we are so small, but here’s the thing . . . It only takes one small act to brighten one persons world, to change it for the better. It takes one helping hand, one moment of understanding, one-act of compassion.

Imagine the difference we could make if everyone took up the mantle of compassion, if the ones they touch do the same for someone else and it creates a beautiful spark, suddenly — hearts are on fire.

You don’t have to be a member of 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, you just have to incorporate compassion into your life, into your world. Of course, we would love to see your stories, your thoughts, and feelings — On February 20th share them on your social media, let your friends and family know you are going to be a part of the change this world so very much needs.

Share a story, a favorite quote, a picture . . . tweet to #1000Speak, share your thoughts on compassion and get out there and put it into action.

Crystal R. Cook


Product Promises, Broken iPad & a Blessing


My dear friend Cindie recently had what could have been a terrible, awful, and heartbreaking incident happen with her sons iPad mini, BUT, Walmart did something wonderful, something another company could have easily, and perhaps should have done themselves.

Cindie’s son is an adorable 9-year-old boy who dropped his iPad, breaking it. Now I know some of you might be thinking, why does a 9-year-old have his own iPad? Or something along those lines; the difference between Cindie’s son and an arguably overindulged 9-year-old with an expensive piece of technology is this, he is autistic.

This particular little boy uses his iPad to communicate, it is his voice. Like any responsible parent, Cindie did her best to protect her sons ability to communicate with the world. She purchased a protective case she was led to believe was pretty much indestructible.

Problem is, the case itself does fulfill the indestructible portion of its claims, but not so much the protective part. It fell short in its ability to protect what it was meant to protect, leaving Cindie and her son with an intact case on a broken iPad.

I realize we can’t blame a product for its hype or effectiveness, well, we can, but reality is, things happen and sometimes we just have to suck it up. I understand Cindie’s frustration with the product in question, I also understand that companies do not have to go out of their way to help us out when something goes wrong, but they can. Some do. Especially in circumstances like the one I’m sharing.

Thankfully, a company did step up, it wasn’t the one she’d expected.

The following is the message which prompted me add my own two cents worth of words . . .

PLEASE SHARE! From a note I wrote . . . I never write things, but I feel very strongly about this. 

iPad smashed — The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 

The Bad — My 9 year old son dropped and shattered his iPad mini at school. It had a Griffin Survivor case on it. My husband called Griifin and talked to customer service, and to their supervisor and to their supervisor (you get the picture). Well there is nothing they can do for us “But if the case is broken we will replace it.” 

WHAT!!!! The case is not broken. The iPad it was supposed to protect is.… 

The Good — Our local Walmart in Coventry, RI, upon hearing that R needed a new voice, has donated one to him! Yay Walmart!

The Ugly —I’m feeling really ugly, mad, and hateful towards Griffin Technologies. Military tested! And it broke! Now I totally support our military, but, yeah, ummm Griffin you dropped the ball. How’s about Autism Tested?

That last bit there is a pretty good idea, I propose ALL products be autism tested as the new standard of durability!

Kudos to Walmart for extending such compassion.

I’d love to hear your suggestions, experiences, and advice in regard to what you feel is the best protective cases on the market, I’m sure Cindie would as well . . .

Crystal R. Cook