Monday, March 5, 2012


I was tagged back by Shauna over at Life on Celestial Circle.  I figured that maybe I could draw that tag out into a few different posts, rather than one general post.  She had some really great questions.  The question that I tackle today is

What characteristic do you find yourself constantly striving for but never quite reaching?

I didn't have to think long on this one. Compassion.

The definition of compassion is: a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate that misfortune.

It is a struggle for me.  It's not that I don't feel the sympathy or sorrow for others.  My struggled comes with that "strong desire" to do something about it.  Mostly because I feel like whatever I do to help it really won't matter.  It is a very strong, very real sense of helplessness.

It wasn't always this way.  In my life I have witnessed much struggling and sorrow within my own family.  In the past I have tried to step in and help, tried to alleviate the suffering.  In doing so it seemed to be made clear to me over and over, no matter my words, no matter what my actions, no matter how many tears I would cry for and with people, nothing changed.  The pain and the suffering were still there.

After time, and time, and time again of trying and flailing and failure upon failure something happened.  Something broke deep down inside of me. I can pretty much pinpoint the day and the occurrences that led up to that point but I won't go into that.  There are times when I have difficulty summoning up sympathy.  I have to dig deep to find it some days.  Sorrow is still my companion.  It comes and sits quietly beside me.  Sympathy and Compassion do not come unless called upon for a long period of times and sometimes they don't arrive unless I scream.

I am acutely,  aware that I lack this particular characteristic.  I strive to look at life and others, especially those closest to me, with more compassion but I always find myself falling short.  I will continue to strive for more compassion in my life because I am keenly aware of how important it is.

I hope and pray for the day when Compassion and Sympathy will sit on either side of me, pushing Sorrow to the edge of the couch. Hopefully that day will come when they will take me by the hand, soften my heart, and lead and direct me to help those who are suffering.

And maybe, just maybe that time it will make a difference.


Mary said...

I don't think you are alone in this struggle. I can also pin point a time when I truly stopped believing that I made REAL difference. And at that moment, I found my calling in Nursing. I can't save every life, I can't fix every child, but now feel fulfilled in knowing that I've done EVERYTHING in my power to help. I'll never be able to silence the screams of those parents when they learn their child has passed, but it keeps me focused on my strive to be a shoulder to cry on, and a source of information and compassion. I finally feel like I'm making a difference, and I have NO doubt that you'll find it too!

wendy said...

I think "making a difference" to someones grief or tragedy can come in the very smallest of ways.
You might not even know, that your little act was one of compassion.
Maybe you are thinking of it on too GRAND a scale.

What we do or say DOES NOT change the event.
But it is remembered by the receive whethere they thought to thank you or not.

EX:...remember when you came to my son's viewing. I was thrilled beyond measure at the appearance of you gals there.
Something I totally did not expect.
I still think back on that to this very day. was a little thing really, but I HELPED ME. I felt loved despite the sorrow surrounding me.

Pedaling said...

you know, I probably would not of thought of that characteristic when thinking on some I could improve...but everything you said here rang a bell. Compassion, I could do better too.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

and I love Wendy's said a lot...about you. Very sweet.

The Kooky Queen--Rachel said...

You're awesome! What a great and honest and REAL post! I have felt this too, serving in poor countries where people have little and thinking "I'm one person, what can I do for these suffering people." I guess it all comes down to the one, serving the one and making a difference for one. But I know what you mean, you feel bad but it's hard to feel like you can make a big impact to help them feel better.

Jessica G. said...

I have the same problem sometimes. So I sort of "fake it until you make it" with this. There's a close friend who is the epitome of compassion and service. I simply ask myself "What would she do?" I make take things down a notch but I still try.

(And you should totally listen to Wendy on this one…because you do make a difference!)