13 July 2011

Compassionate People

Isn't it a shame that the compassionate people of the world don't tend to make the headlines?  It seems strange to me that our newspapers and news broadcasts tend to be full of people who practice deviant behaviors, such as hurting or killing other people, stealing money, deceiving people for their own gain, and other such things.  If I were a stranger to this planet and I were to pick up a copy of most of the papers that are published, I might even think that there is no compassion in this world, or at least so little that no one valued it.

I know for a fact, though, that our world is full of compassionate people.  There are many human beings who focus strongly on helping and serving others, who love and care deeply for others.  I know that there are people who give constantly out of a sense of compassion, and not out of a need to have others think they're generous.  There are many people who listen to the problems of others, who help out people who have been hurt, who have a very strong sense of compassion for their fellow human beings, for animals, for the planet we live on.

It's kind of interesting sometimes to try to recognize compassionate people, to try to recognize acts of compassion for what they are.  I like to see people helping other people, for it makes me feel a sense of hope, as well as a desire to act in the same way.  When we act compassionately, someone else benefits from our feelings and our actions, and usually it's someone who has a pretty strong need to be on the receiving end of compassion.

Who needs to feel compassion in your life now?  Can you share your compassion with that person by finding some appropriate and useful ways to help him or her?  Perhaps you can be the light that shines, the example that other people would like to follow, just by finding out the needs of someone else and fulfilling a small portion of those needs.  The world has many, many compassionate people in it, people who never will be on the news or on the front page of the paper.  One of my biggest hopes is that when I die, someone who's mentioning my name will find the word "compassionate" when they're describing me.  For that to happen, of course, I need to act in ways that will make someone think of that particular word.

The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of
the interdependence of all these living beings, which are
all part of one another, and all involved in one another.

Thomas Merton

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