Compassion

I’ve had a really difficult time since the Supreme Court in our state struck down the safer-at-home order that was, well, keeping us all safer at home.

I’ve been frustrated and, quite frankly, angry at the people (I’m trying to be kind here) who are protesting such measures in my city.

I’m even more frustrated by people who won’t take the simple step of protecting others by keeping their distance and wearing masks.

You’re not doing these things just for yourself – you’re doing them for other people, too.

And as my frustration and anger built and grew, I realized that I needed to do something to shift my mindset. Because this was not healthy for me.

So I’ve been trying to cultivate compassion and understanding.

I spent some time yesterday reading poetry and other writings on compassion. One of the most striking and compelling was Maria Shriver’s post in her Sunday Paper. (If you don’t subscribe, I recommend it – just Google it. She writes something insightful and interesting and compelling every week, and I find myself agreeing with her more often than not…)

I can’t find the text to link to, specifically, but yesterday, she wrote:

“So maybe as we reflect on this long weekend, we can each remember that while we have gone through this pandemic together, we have all had very different experiences. Some have lost their lives or their livelihoods. Others have lost hope. Some are remembering loved ones who lost their lives in a war defending our freedoms. Others are just trying to get back to work so they can put food on the table for their families.

This may be the start of summer, but it’s an uncertain time for just about everyone I speak to, myself included. In fact, it’s a fragile time for so many. So, let’s be gentle with one another. We don’t really know what people have gone through these past few months. We don’t know if that person walking next to us is a Gold Star mom or dad or sibling, or the family member of a health care worker who lost their life keeping us safe.

This weekend let’s try to celebrate one another. Let’s seek to get to know one another. Let’s ask each other how the last few months have been and let others know we are here for them—not just this weekend, but for the long haul as well.

After all, what makes us the country we are is our humanity, our empathy, our kindness, and our effort to understand the other—regardless of whether they have the same opinion about opening up or wearing a mask as we do. If we can try to express gratitude for what we have, who we are, and what we can be as a nation, then we will have a memorable summer. Now won’t that be something to celebrate.”

I added the bold to highlight the text that really spoke to me. I’m trying to be more gentle with others now, to not call them, ahem, bad names under my breath when I’m frustrated. 
It’s hard. It’s really really hard. But it makes me feel a lot better than some NSFW muttering. That’s not to say that I’m 100% successful. But I figure part of the time is better than nothing, right? 
And, trying to remember the real meaning of Memorial Day today… to remember and honor all those who gave their lives for this country. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could honor them by living up to the ideals and vision they held so dear? I don’t have high hopes for that from, um, some people. But I do hope that we can get through this, somehow, and find ourselves worthy of their sacrifice. 

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