A sense of compassion

Estimated read time 3 min read

Originally published on Bnotes on February 5, 2014

I am my mother’s daughter. Without her, I have an empty space in my heart that will never be filled. And yet, I try to pour into it all of the things that she tried to teach me. This morning, I am remembering her sense of humanity. That all people are worthy, even if other people think they are worthless, and even if they are feeling worthless because of how other people treat them. As I always say, everybody has a story.

We are all sagging under the weight of a taught perception of what represents worth. Yes, there is good and bad, evil, and terror, and all of negatives we try to protect against. That is not my concern this morning. This morning, it is simply about treating each other with a sense of humanness, kindness, compassion, caring.

This past year, I had an experience that called into question this very concept in my life. Something is very wrong when prejudice is interpreted as progress. Something is amiss when courtesy is draped and concealed, hidden and held back for the sake of expediency. There is a difference between construction and destruction in human affairs.

This is a landscape upon which we look at life and decide how we will walk the streets and sidewalks, and neighborhoods and business districts, and cities. We decide if we can step aside to let someone else pass by, or say thank you when someone yields to our sense of space and movement. We are not all going in the same direction, and if we are, there is no reason why we cannot go forward together. We should know that for every slight we give, that slight will be given to someone else on our behalf. That is how man’s inhumanity to man is fed. We are taught to take our hurts and heap them on to others, if we cannot give them to those that caused us pain.

For most of us, days have real weight and simply getting out of bed is difficult. Luckily for us, we have many ways to escape thinking about simple human worth. None of us escapes being human. None of us escapes the pain we feel when a sense of worthlessness descends upon our spirit. And most of us are very good at disguising it.

I don’t know that I will ever be the woman that my mother was. How great was her sense of humanity, from the many people who stayed with us when they had nowhere else to go, to the many causes she supported that were related to civil and human rights.

Her heart was huge. She created a wonderful landscape in our family and how she walked it, I do not know. I just try to follow in her footsteps.

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