Two of my daughters earned new phones (that was a grandparent deal, not one of mine). The younger of the two couldn't sit still, her excitement palpable. She played with the features, the sound at full volume. She took videos and pictures of everyone in the house, pets included. By the afternoon, the older of the two bared her teeth and all but strangled the younger.
Older (and supposedly wiser) she berated the younger and went too far. Damon and I intervened and took her new phone. There was weeping and gnashing of teeth, not to mention the full court defense she launched. And yet, Damon and I said, no. She had to take responsibility for her mistreatment of her little sister.
It wasn't ten minutes later that the younger came to us in tears, big crocodile droplets. She handed me her phone saying, "take my phone and give hers back." When I told her that her sister needed to learn, she responded, "I do too. It's my fault. Take my phone."
Her offer to sacrifice shifted the mood of the entire house. Kindness crept back in and order was restored. It was only a moment of tenderness that invited love in.
It's been a few weeks since that incident and I can't shake the image of my daughter's tear streaked face begging to take her sister's place.
Compassion leaves a mark, imprints the memory on our hearts. I hope one day I'll be the person my daughter already is.