Friday, September 6, 2013

The Compassion Complex

It is so strange; sitting here today in the comfort of a quiet home and an otherwise simple life.  My worries, relatively speaking, are quite small and insignificant.  I look around, and I see abundance.  When I read the news, I see despair.

It is difficult to express the impact those images have on my heart.  The pain I feel for those in need, who are suffering and fighting to survive, cannot adequately be surmised.  But I can assure you, it is a heartbreak unlike any other.

The long lines of refugees wandering through the harsh desert in search of some shelter and safety is an image that I awoke to this morning.  They walk along, carrying very few belongings.  Most women hold the hands of their small children who are sprayed and whipped by the blowing sands.  How can I not weep at the sight?

They are homeless.  They are terrified.  They are human beings.  And I am never so ignorant to think for one second that their fate couldn't someday be ours too.

'Us' and 'them.'  'They' and 'we.'  'You' and 'I.'  I beg for all of us to foster acceptance and compassion. We are only separated by geography.  We have different cultures of course, and perhaps we pray much differently from one another.  But your faith is not much different than mine; when it is the only thing getting you through the otherwise sleepless night. 

I never really know what I will write about each day.  It isn't something overly planned or thought out.  But no matter what it happens to be about from day to day, there is some common thread; they are some basic daily offerings of who I am and how I perceive the world around me.

I love life.  Even on the worst days, I genuinely love and appreciate my life.  And even on the worst days, I appreciate yours too.

Sometimes I fear that I am losing that sensitivity.  The world is home to the corrupt as well as the compassionate.  And while it would be nice to hear of all the wonderful acts of generosity and kindness that are surely operating in various parts of the world on a daily basis, I wonder if it would make a difference?

The horrific acts of terror abroad, as well as the grotesque violence in our own country, all have a way of overshadowing the most heroic of efforts.  While we [Americans] may judge the chaos of warfare abroad, I wonder how it is that our own country can be so overly wrought with senseless acts of violence, rape and murder.  And for what?? What cause, other than some twisted pleasure or selfishness could these mongrels have? I've said it before and I will say it again: hate begets hate.  But violence doesn't necessarily have to beget violence.  There is always a choice.  

We are indeed a nation of plenty, and with that, it seems that there are some barriers as to how we relate to one another; whether in a foreign land, or the neighboring state.

Thank God, I don't understand the nature of killing.  I don't understand how more killing, could improve any situation.  But perhaps that is why I am not at the table making those types of decisions.

But it doesn't mean that I have to be immune to it either.

I'm sure by tomorrow, I shall resume my otherwise comical, insightful, quirky hopes and diatribes about my own daily pursuit of all that I desire for my time here on earth.  Wait a second... this is still an essay serving that aim. 

Compassion serves the dream.  

If I ever wake up one day and find myself too numb to shed a tear at the sight of mass graves in a foreign country, then I will be truly ashamed.  To feel sorrow, only if it is happening directly to ourselves, is a tragic loss of empathy and compassion.

It is important to strike a balance in life; think of it as the Compassion Complex.  You cannot get so affected that you stop living your life.  But immunity and numbness are not compassionate either. To those who are suffering: I am not immune to your pain.  I am so sorry for all that you are faced with today.

I recognize that this life is a gift and with that comes an obligation to honor it; getting up each day and living life to the fullest in the face of despair. That is what I will continue to do.  Press on.  The fact that I have been so blessed to only write about what I see, and not actually be stranded in the desert, means that I owe it to the very breath of life to keep on believing, dreaming and living each day with gratitude and courage.

And one day, perhaps in some unexpected way, I too could have changed the world for the better.  To have shed compassion and hope: I couldn't ask for much greater purpose than that.


White Russian

1 oz Vodka
1/2 oz Kahlua
Splash of Cream
On the Rocks


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