Compassion is the response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help
them. Compassion motivates people to go out of their way to help the physical, spiritual,
or emotional hurts and pains of another. Compassion is the ability to respond to that
suffering. As well, it is being able to feel and understand how others feel. As I write this,
I realize that I can transpose the word ‘empathy’ into the spot where compassion fits.
We live in a fast-paced and challenging time and often, we are so absorbed in our own
duties, commitments and chores that we sometimes forget to stop and take a look
around us. We have a lot of people who are suffering. I believe that we are here for
each other. Connection with another is the biggest need that we have on this planet.
I am reminded of the story of a young photo journalist who was out photographing and
writing about old abandoned buildings. On and old farm, she entered a building that she
thought had amazing character. Old buildings are my passion too. As she got inside,
she was surprised when she came face to face with an elderly man. He was surprised
too. She immediately apologized for intruding and told him what her assignment had
been. He was especially pleased to see her and eager to show her around the house.
He was born in that house and had lived there all of his life. He was a bit of an artist
himself and showed her his paintings. With permission, she photographed his home
including some of his paintings as they adorned all of the wooden walls inside his home.
The visit lasted quite a while and they sat having tea and talking about everything under
the sun. They were kindred spirits and the time just marched on. The old gentleman told
her that his health was failing and he was not sure that he would be able to stay in his
home. They discussed his health and she gave him advice on what she knew about the
plants that grew around his house. When it was time to leave, she promised to come
back and see him again. He wanted a date, so she put it in her calendar.
She began to look forward to her regular visits with him and much was shared about
life, past loves and mortality. As the months past, his health improved and he became
active in his garden and began painting again.
This story illustrates the power of compassion and connection. We can all do a little
something for someone else and in that sharing of ourselves, we too benefit and the
consciousness of the Universe expands.
by Janet Robinson