So I broke my promise. The one I made, when I said I was going to write every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until the end of the year. I didn’t post on Monday this week. I couldn’t. I was overwhelmed by the voices on social media, hard, unforgiving, strident, graceless.

When did compassion get to be so competitive?

When did the fact that I feel for one group of people automatically stop me from feeling for another?

When did our hearts get so small?

compassion: a feeling of distress and pity for the suffering or misfortune of others. (From Old French “suffer with”)

People have been displaced and even lost their lives, in Esperance this week. There have been people who died in Paris this week. There have been people who died in Syria this week. There have been people who died in Nigeria this week. And so many more places I can’t even list them all. You may even have experienced a death in your close circle.

I happen to believe that there are so many people on this planet for a reason. I happen to believe that your heart may be breaking for the women in Bangladesh. But mine is breaking for the children of Cambodia. We all have hearts, and all our hearts break.

But our hearts can’t possibly break for all the suffering people in the world all the time. That is why there are so many of us. So that when someone somewhere is suffering, another can have compassion. That’s the beauty of the human race, the way we are all touched differently.

We are called to “rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn”.

Who are you called to mourn with this week? Do that, be compassionate.

And don’t let anyone shame you because you didn’t mourn with another group. Maybe that is who they are called to mourn with. And if we all show compassion where we are called, instead of pointing fingers, then the world will be a much better place.




4 thoughts on “compassion

  1. I went into a bit of confused spiral on that issue too. I felt bad for feeling more for the Paris victims than for those of other attacks / wars / natural disasters. Then I felt that it was actually fair enough. Many of the other places mentioned have been dangerous places for almost as long as I can remember and I can’t envisage life there at all. But I’ve spent time in Paris, I sit in cafes, I visit shopping centres, I enjoy music. It seems quite natural to relate to this city more because it is closer to my experience, just as I grieve for a person I knew and loved in a way that I will never grieve for a stranger, no matter how much empathy I may have for them.

    1. I think it is true Beth, that being to a place makes things more real. I think that’s why travel is so important, as a way to open our eyes to this wonderful world, but also to broaden our compassion.

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