Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it
My struggle with compassion has been an uphill battle. I’ve always considered myself a person who had great capacity for deep compassion and empathy. I was that kid who would obsess and strive to understand the evil in the world whether it was slavery, the holocaust or natural disasters that suddenly left people in a place of distress. It was compassion that showed me just how fragile life is, and just how close we are to being put in extraordinary circumstances that could mean the difference between life and death.
Its been almost two months since Superstorm Sandy hit my beloved home, New York,NY, and the areas surrounding it . In its path, it left behind destruction and despair, but also a deep sense of unity and hope. By now, the entire world has seen the devastating photos of lost homes, downed trees, flooded streets, and haunting imagery such as the iconic New York City skyline going completely black, and historic landmarks being swept away by nature. They have also seen the kindness of strangers, offering their homes, assisting with cleaning the wreckage, collecting donations, being a source of electricity, a shoulder to cry on, or someone’s opportunity for a hot meal. When necessities are suddenly taken away and its time for someone to step up to the plate, we can count on compassion to be there and take the lead. Compassion has an open heart, compassion doesn’t see race or social status, compassion has no limits. Its a punch to the gut, a feeling that won’t falter or leave you alone, a feeling that gets you in action, a feeling that has you take a stranger underneath your wing. It’s the heart and soul of every man and woman.
As the days pass by, and we inch our way to normalcy. When the lights come back on, and our city is up and running. When the water recedes, the roads are cleared, and the houses are rebuilt, remember that compassion got us this far, and it will continue to carry us in times of need.