Her perfect heart


I was digging through an old journal entry and found this:

“Izzy once arranged for the school counselor to come and talk to her class about being nice to kids who are emotionally different than they are, to defend a classmate who had been ostracized.”

I forgot that she had done that. She actually spoke with the school counselor and her teacher, and arranged this presentation/discussion with her class in defense of a child (without singling him out) who was a little loud and struggling to control his emotions. I remember visiting the classroom and meeting this boy who was disruptive and muttered to himself a lot. Other kids gave him the side-eye or dismissed him. But Izzy walked into the room and greeted him warmly and genuinely, and he returned in kind.

She was nine.

Oftentimes, especially lately, I’m so angry. The optimism of 2020 I felt earlier has struggled mightily in the last nine days after the fires in Australia, the strife with Iran, and just the general tendency of people to think the worst of those not like them. Their ‘otherness’ somehow taking away their humanity.

I don’t know why Izzy had to go when her empathy is sorely needed. She was never angry, only hurt. But then I think the way the world is would have hurt her too much to stay. And maybe it’s now our task (mine and Bill’s) to amplify her compassion, but it’s hard to focus or organize when the pain feels so deep

In the journal, I also wrote: She has a big heart… I just wish her real one was as perfect.

I have a perfect heart, broken though it may be. Most of us do, and whlte they say that we only use 25% of our brain, I suspect we only share 25% of our perfect hearts with the world around us, on social media, to the guy driving slow in front of us (guilty).

Izzy used 100% of her heart, imperfect though it was. Compassion and empathy are her legacy. If a nine-year-old can feel so much and then take action, however small, so can I. So, hopefully, can we all.

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