Compassionate? McLachlan Makes Me Cry

Warning: This post starts with a rant and ends with chocolate.  Persevere.

Every Sunday I meet with my life group before church to study the book of Matthew, hang out, and just “do life” together. We have a great group of people, and they are an important part of my week. This week we studied compassion. We were challenged to question ourselves if we have it.

Overall, I consider myself a pretty compassionate person. I find it very hard to walk away from someone in need without asking what I can do or how I can pray. I am a great listener for friends and family, and am always concerned with how they are before diving into how I am. I don’t pinch babies, I help old people with doors and bags, and Sarah McLachlan’s commercials make me cry. So yes, I’d say I am compassionate. To a point.
sarah mclachlan commercials Pictures, Images and Photos

See, I have a really hard time with complainers. Tell me once or twice about your problem, I’ll listen. I’ll offer suggestions. I’ll pray for you. I will seek advice from friends and neighbors. I will stay up until 2AM if that’s what it takes. But come back to me over and over again with the same problem, with no attempt at resolving the issue when I know you have the power to – and you lose me. Completely.

Here’s the thing.  The dictionary defines compassion as: sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.  But if I have a desire to alleviate your distress and you don’t – we have a problem. - I enjoy complaining almost as much as not doing anything about my complaints.

See, when it comes to our happiness – it all lies in our hands. We have a choice with how we live our lives. No one promised things would be fair, even or easy. For example, growing up I knew a woman named Cheryl who, as a beautiful, normal, healthy 16 year girl woke up one day before school and couldn’t walk. And never did again. She is the strongest, most positive, uplifting person I have ever met. Cheryl is the mother of one of my grade school classmates, and later became a mentor. Here she was in a wheelchair, for seemingly NO reason, making MY day a little brighter. She was incredible – she taught me that we are in control of our happiness.  Whenever I am feeling crappy about myself or my situation, her smile never fails to show up in my brain. She always used to say:

Meg – what’s with the soapbox already? Welp, I have someone in my life that I care about right now, but am struggling to be around. Everything that comes out of her mouth is negative. And I mean EVERYTHING. Her (fill in the blank) hurts. She didn’t sleep well. Her clothes don’t fit. Her skin is dry. It’s too hot outside. It’s too cold outside. It’s too windy outside. It’s raining outside. Most of her complaints have to do with her body or how something makes her feel. And yet she treats her body like a punching bag. She eats at unhealthy restaurants 3 times a day, lives a completely sedentary life, and relies on several different medications to “get her through” the day. I’ve offered to walk with her in the morning. I’ve offered to go to the grocery with her to help her shop for cheap, healthy foods. I’ve sent her articles about how simple food swaps or drinking more water will help her feel less sluggish. Yet there is ALWAYS an excuse why she can’t take me up on any suggestions. And I guess that’s where my compassion ends. When you consciously and repeatedly choose to live an unhealthy life, I have zero patience for your complaints about the repercussions. - Nothing makes me happier than complaining about how miserable I am.During my time working on “The Smallest Winner“, I witnessed diabetic contestants never have to take an insulin shot again. Blood pressure and heart medication were phased out, and sleep apnea became a thing of the past. Their skin became brighter, their hair shinier, their smiles bigger. Not because of a magic pill or a secret formula, but because of hard work and a commitment to better choices. It has been proven to me over and over and over again that the power to our health & happiness is in our hands!

I don’t want to quit on this person, but her negativity is weighing heavily on me.  I feel mentally and emotionally exhausted when I am finished spending time with her.  Does this make me a compassionateless (did I just make that word up?) person? Am I being too harsh? Or have I just seen too many adults putting their own needs aside for others or making excuses for themselves, yet expecting different results?

In other news – after this afternoon’s workout of 8 1-minute sprints to gain strength and speed, I had a Swanson’s Ultra Vita-Lanne Instant Meal Shake in Chocolate. Personally I prefer to call it a protein shake, because I am not a big fan of replacing a meal with a shake – they just don’t fill me up. But when the shake appeared on my doorstep last week along with a SWEET bottle koozie (thanks to the fabulous Anothony at Swanson’s) I haven’t been able to get enough. This stuff is GOOD!

So far I’ve mixed it in a smoothie with milk, peanut butter, spinach, flax, banana and ice. I’ve put it in my overnight oats. I’ve even sprinkled it on my ice cream. Oh, yes I did!!! But today, I wanted to try it naked – just skim milk and powder. It was so yummy – flavorful without tasting chalky. Chalky protein powder is THE. WORST. What I like about Swanson’s powder is that it has 19g of protein, 4g of fiber and 21 antioxidants per serving, plus it is naturally sweetened. No fake stuff here! And it mixed up really easily. I didn’t have to thumb wrestle or bribe the powder to mix with the milk – it was easy peasy! My favorite thing about it, however, is that the powder is in the Vita-Lanne line.  As in JACK LALANNE! I love that guy!!But wait…There’s more! Since Anthony is so awesome, he gave me a Swanson Vitamins discount link to share with you. It will give you $5 off $50, $10 off $75 or $20 off $125. So go get your own powder (or spirulina and chlorella)  and quit eyein’ mine!

Do you have someone in your life that needs a wake up call?  How do you deal with it?

What is your favorite protein / meal shake?

Is there a commercial that makes you cry?

*Swanson’s provided me with the shake fo’ free – which I gladly accepted.  However, the opinions are all mine – no fakesies here.*