The people who, theoretically, are supposed to show compassion, too often don’t. And that is wrenchingly sad.
Against all my better instincts, I wandered around a locally-based social media page, one that extols itself for “speaking the truth, and proud of it.”
Well, the pride part fits.
A discussion came up about people who work low paying jobs, and whether or not they “deserve” the difficulties attendant with long hours, demanding customers, no benefits, and the need to possess a skill — which many people, even those with higher paying, “professional” jobs, do not have — of smiling graciously when you are treated poorly.
“It’s their choice,” one person wrote. “If they want something that pays more, then they should get a better job.”
Such an easy, simplistic solution, tossing the blame back on the person along with a series of implied “should haves” — “You should have gone to school.” “You shouldn’t have had a child that you can’t take care of.” “You should have thought ahead.” “You should work harder.” “You shouldn’t have married the jerk.” “You should move to another city where the opportunities are better.”
The intriguing thing is that I am acquainted with this commenting person, and am aware of their belief of being a good citizen, due to ascribing to a system that promotes itself for the love, compassion, and grace of the person they consider to be its principle spokesperson and founder. That founder spoke a lot about not judging others.
And while it’s difficult to see any of the founder’s love, compassion, or grace in that social media comment, to be fair, social media isn’t the best site for thoughtful, honest, meaningful communication.
The artwork, The Traveler, reminds us that we are all travelers on this planet, in the journey of life, and as with anyone on unfamiliar ground, we are vulnerable. To the sharks out there we are easy prey, deserving of being cheated if we fall into it.
But when we fall, we find little sympathy from the weak and insecure (who often look confident and strong), who opine, “You should have been smarter. Look at me — I don’t have problems like yours.”
And that, they conclude, is enough reason to withhold help, to forego compassion, to pronounce judgment.
Love. Compassion. Grace. These are not easy attributes to practice. But when we do, they turn our journey into an adventure well worth experiencing.
Perhaps we should stop waiting around for the people who theoretically should be showing compassion, and just start showing it ourselves.
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