Sunday, December 16, 2012

Why can't we see that?

The little prince's drawing demonstrates
how blind we grown-ups can be.
Sunday: A few minutes ago I watched my teen son through my office window. As I write this he's down the street skating at our local neighbourhood outdoor rink. It's a warm winter Sunday afternoon here and watching him, I noticed someone else is skating there now too, and together they are shooting a puck around.

Saturday: Yesterday, I visited a store to buy a gift, and the boss and his employees surprised me by offering to assemble it while I did my other shopping. I know the boss, he's a good guy and sometimes we talk about our Scottish heritage plus our daughters went to school together. I returned later to thank them and pay my bill.

Friday: After a great day at work, a friend asked me if I'd heard about the school shooting in Connecticut. I hadn't. A group of us sat together in disbelief, frustration, confusion, and then in debate and then finally, in silent bewildered respect for those teachers and those children. Later, I had my first migraine. I hope it's my last. Struggling through that pain, I thought about my brother and his daily battle with cancer, what he endures and how he copes and how thankful I am for his unconditionally devoted wife and how much I wish we could be together and how much I wish there was something more I could do. And then my wife joined me where I sat in the dark and she gently massaged my hands; her touch soothed the ache in my head and she sat with me while I endured essentially nothing in comparison to what my brother faces every day. I also thought about those grieving in Connecticut and how my wife's pure compassion was so soothing and transforming for me.

Compassion: even outside of our closest, trusted relationships it's the very thing that joins us and also dissolves what divides us, strangers or not.

People: dissolve what divides you from others. Start small in the biggest, biggest place: your own family. Leave some compassion here and there in your life too. On a skating rink, in a store, at work.

And leaders: we need a society based on compassion.  Compassionate health care. Compassionate use of power. Compassionate policy. Preventative compassion. Is it really that difficult? Is it really that complicated? Isn't that what you want too? Isn't that what we all want? Isn't this what we need to do to protect our children? Why can't we see that?

"Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction." ~Antoine St-Exupery in The Little Prince


Debra She Who Seeks said...

We can't see that we need a society based on compassion because such a view conflicts with greed, anger, ambition, jealousy, hatred, etc. etc. etc. -- all the other emotions that most people give priority to.

Pickleope said...

A society based on compassion would be magnificent. If only.
Thank you for this.

Chris said...

Terrific post. Tragedy brings out both the best and worst in people. Many have forgotten how to be compassionate, for fear of looking weak in this dog-eat-dog society we have. This has to change. Compassion needs to become a high priority.

Pearson Report said...

I'm a huge fan of Antoine St-Exupery and have read The Little Prince several times (in both English and German) over the course of decades.

Each time I extract a little more insight. Yes...we grown-ups don't always see what is plain to see; we are busy complicating things that should remain simple.

Your post is very thought provoking and at the same time quite speaks to the need for something basic and easy to give and show - compassion.

I agree it starts at home...where do we best learn these simple kindnesses but if not at home. Maybe many of these tragedies would not happen if only more time was spent "seeing" our children, "hearing" our children, "holding" our children and just "loving" them...compassionately and with respect.

Then, just maybe...they would grow-up to do the same.

Wonderful post, dbs...I enjoyed it very much.

The Defiant Marshmallow said...

Glad I stopped back in to read this. Probably will be the best thing I see all day.

Didactic Pirate said...

Beautifully said, friend.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said. I love the quote you ended with.

wendy said...

so beautifully written.
Compassion !!!!!!!
Together....looking beyond what we SEE to what is really there.
thanks for sharing these thoughts with all of us.

Alistair Robertson said...

Very good dbs.

You make the points well without excess sentiment or extremes. I agree with what you say. The last few years have concentrated my opinion in those directions. What kind of society do we want to live in or want to leave as a legacy for coming generations.

No matter in which continent we live too much of our societies core is economics based; education, justice; welfare and of course government. Those who control the money have the power, but money has no compassion, no conscience, no soul and the vast majority who have the money see nothing as important as protecting that position, strengthening that power and don't understand how isolated they are from normal reality. They don't live in a society where these terrible things happen. They can salve what pricks conscience with a donation here and there and can afford a vista where they can simply look away. And too many of us seem to look unquestioningly to these very people with those vested interests for national leadership and seem comfortable that we don't have to take ownership of our own destinies, never mind how many want to emulate the meaningless fame lifestyle.

It's evident that when something tragic like Sandy Hook happens people look for comfort and meaning in the words of humanists, philosophers, or sages from other times yet we don't seem to have these people at the heart of our governments, our industries or our services. Wouldn't we have a better chance of getting the change that surely we need if we did.

It's quite an indictment that it takes something like this to make us reflect of what's truly importance in life.

Someone once said that a jouney of a thousand miles starts with one step.

I hope America takes this chance to take a step together.

Michael Burrows said...

Ignorance trumps compassion. And greed. And fear.

But, one by one we can each of us work through these poisons and develop our kindness. More and more people will see that this is really the only way to live and be happy.

I have faith.

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