Practicing Compassion

Conditions at home have reached an unbearable point. “I’ve got to get out of here,” they think. Someone says, there’s hope in America. The word spreads. Groups start the long and treacherous journey. Groups become thousands.

For the past five weeks I’ve either been traveling or deep into a research project. I get very little news in those times. But I know there’s something terrible going on at our border with Mexico.

After writing about gratitude and humility, compassion seemed to be the next logical topic.

Compassion is not feeling sorry for, it is feeling with. I have great compassion for those children seeking a better life. Every one of my American readers came from such stock–people seeking a better life by coming to America. Most of them found it. Our nation was built on that. It is somewhat unique in the world in that way.

Sometime we turn to politics to solve the problem. But most problems are not political, they are human. In politics, lines are drawn, people become things. We construct evil sounding labels for those we oppose. It’s easier to deal with people that way.

My dad would have never had a Japanese friend–not that he ever had the opportunity. There were no Japanese people within 50 miles of where he lived his life. The end of World War II found him on a ship in the Pacific. He was trained to think of Japanese people as less than human so that he could go over there and kill them.

I don’t speak German as a native because of two world wars fought against Germany. People stopped speaking German out of patriotism for America (or out of fear of being called a traitor).

My formative years intellectually came during the Civil Rights Era. I was moved by the treatment of black people–who were usually called names that made them less than human in the mind.

Let’s work to develop and practice our compassion “gene” and let it overcome our “fear” and “anger” genes. I do not know what I can do about that situation right now. But as the opportunities present themselves, I’ll jump on something. I know how easy it is to label people and write them off as less than human. It is a terrible thing.

Someone said in a situation, “Just pray.” But it’s not “just” pray. Prayer is a powerful tool of action. Pray with intention. Pray with expectation. Pray with compassion. That is one thing we can do–now.

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