Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thoughts on Compassion: Part II

When I set out to write Thoughts on Compassion, I had no idea that it would receive such a reaction. So many people with so many opinions! And - what shocked me the most - was that it became somewhat of a debate. To serve, or not to serve, that is the question (apparently!).

Due to the interest generated, I have felt prompted to write a brief follow-up post. In this post, I hope to make a simple clarification, as well as share a few new thoughts I have had since perusing my readers reactions.

First of all, when I wrote that post, I in no way meant to come across as anti-compassion or anti-service. In fact, I specifically wrote "I know it is a fault of mine - I am not proud of my harshness - but I also know that that is who I am."

And who I am is how I am inherently, like my mother before me. We are woman of little feeling. It is a strange way to be in a world that seems to run off of emotion. Indeed, there have been many occasions where my mother and I have talked about being misfits, and what an awkward feeling it is when everyone around us is crying, yet we cannot make tears come. I am simply wired differently, and that is why compassion is something I struggle with.

This does not mean that I do not appreciate compassion. Truth be told, I have been the recipient of compassion many times, especially during hardships with Elisabeth. I have had meals delivered, cards written, and phone calls sent my way. It is difficult for me to accept acts of love and service, but nevertheless, I am grateful.

So in the days since I published that post I have continued to think on the subject. I have compared myself to others, and here is what I concluded:

For me, it is hard to nurture close personal friendships and give small acts of service. However, I feel comfortable doing big things (like adopting a child from Africa, for example). On the contrary, I know someone who is the exact opposite. Emotionally she is fragile, and facing some of the harsher realities in life (like watching a legless child drag himself through a dirt road) would be too much. But if you are needing someone to lend a helping hand, or sit and listen to your worries, she is your gal!

What I am trying to say is that we all have different strengths and weaknesses. The key is to focus on your strengths and use them to better the world in which we live. I think that's why we are all created differently, each with his or her own gifts - so that when we come together we can create something magnificent. So let us all try to be the best we can be, live up to our potential, and to strive to learn and grow each day.

Heck...I think I'll make you that sandwich after all.

  photo 9cf24f65-afb7-4247-ad2d-4ee3cedc34bd_zps0dfa8761.jpg 
 [A picture of me and Elisabeth on her first day of Kindergarten. 
Because even if it is not related to the subject, every post is better with a picture.]

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