Compassion does give happiness – by Rev. Bert Potts

In November I fainted and fell out of bed, breaking my left femur. I was transported by ambulance
to Mercy Hospital, had surgery, and started the long process of healing. My surgeon said the bone needs
4 months to heal. I was transferred to Skilled Nursing at Epworth. During this time I was in deep pain and
not interested in anything but decreasing the pain. I also had to deal with my fainting episodes and felt
very insecure as the doctors tried to figure out a plan. Nurses and aides cared for my basic needs of
cleaning my bed, and clothing, and making sure there would be no increased infection, but I dreaded their coming to my bed. The pain was just too intense as they had to move me to complete their duties.

I was not trying to blame anyone, but I wanted no more pain. I tried to direct the helpers, but that
did not work. Then I realized I could grab the metal bars on the bed and lift myself up. This was a major
change for me and the workers. Our Skilled Nursing staff did not expect me to be without pain, but my
reaction to pain was frustrating for all of us. As I thought of the long hours of their day and the MANY patients they cared for, I began to think more about their service and less about my pain.

The Dalai Lama offered me a new path with his words in The Book of Joy. He wrote, “The more
time you spend thinking about yourself, the more suffering you experience. A compassionate concern for
others’ well-being is the source of happiness.” Do you wonder about your life and the challenges you
face? Do you find yourself focusing on your own thoughts, ideas, situations, and ideology rather than
having compassion for others? Most of us lose our compassion in today’s changing times whether it be in
our jobs, society, religion, politics, families, or diversity in general. I think Jesus is the one who reminds us
of how to live with others. “Love others as you love yourself” is his teaching, and we need to remember it
in all situations. When we find ourselves bothered by what is happening around us and we feel angry or
frustrated or very unsafe, the beginning place to find peace is by focusing on others. That is how the Dalai Lama handled exile as a young boy, and I believe it is how Jesus handled his persecution.

We are very fortunate at Epworth Villa to have resources so close as we heal. When the Maintenance Team found out I needed safety changes made in our apartment, they immediately came! When I
needed to keep going with my therapy, the therapists were adaptable as they accepted that some days
nausea and fear of fainting were just part of my life. My husband is extra sweet to push me in a wheelchair to and from the sessions, and as we pass the café on the way home, I get a treat! Coke and a hamburger simply make me want to do it all over again!

My life has changed so much since November, but I have learned to focus less on my pain and
more on those helping me and the process itself. I am glad to be here at Epworth Villa, and I appreciate
all of the gifts and prayers during this time of healing. Compassion does seem to be the key, though, to
my happiness. Could it be that way for you too?