A Burden?

But I find it hidden deep
Undisturbed, but ready to leap
Requiring nothing more than a word
Dancing about as quick as a bird
Even when I’m so tired
Not going to leave you in the mire

Was reading through the various pins on Pinterest when I came across a description of River Song (from Doctor Who). At the end of the description about her, it mentioned that she had the ‘feistiness of her mother,’ but that she had also ‘inherited the great burden of compassion from her father.’

It made me stop and think about compassion.

Compassion isn’t just something that you give to others, but something that is a part of who you are.

I looked up the word on Google (because my gigantic Webster dictionary (that my family loves and uses as the Last Word on Words) is currently boxed up and in a storage unit two valleys over) and what caught my attention wasn’t the definition given, but the list of synonyms at the end.

Pity sympathy, empathy, fellow feeling, care, concern, solicitude, sensitivity, warmth, love tenderness, mercy, leniency, tolerance, kindness, humanitycharity.

Humanity caught my attention, because it made me think of something that I grew up believing. Humanity isn’t something that can be given. It’s isn’t manners or etiquette or anything that is learned. It is something that you are born with even if you don’t recognize it as such. It might not even be something that you feel strongly for in regards to another human. It might only be animals that really stir your heart and mind with tenderness or warmth, but to me, that is still showing humanity.

Now charity is something different and yet the same. It’s all of the words before it and more. It is something that is for others, but because it is for others it also affects us in a way that is difficult to describe. When you show love for others, even if at first you don’t feel it, it changes something inside of you. Practice makes progress after all.

But in the end, charity is something that you have within yourself and it changes the way you think when you are using it for others in a way that doesn’t showcase yourself in any way. Sometimes charity is the ability to forgive and love someone even when they have done you a great wrong.

Because you care more about them than about what they have done.

(This doesn’t mean that you forget it or don’t try and protect yourself. You can forgive without forgetting what happened even if it’s one of the hardest things to do.)

Compassion is a heavy thing to bear, but in my mind it’s kind of like carrying a small child who has fallen asleep. They are heavier asleep than awake because they aren’t helping to hold themselves up at all, but it’s one of the best weights I have ever held.

Good Neighbor

The girl in the hall
Alone and feeling small
You greet with a smile
Like you’ve known her a while

The woman at church
Pale and shaking with a lurch
Haven’t seen her all week
Because of the fear that she’s weak

The mother at the store
Children crying, her arms sore
You try to help them smile
Knowing it will stop the tears for a while

The boy lost in the world
Where everything’s a whirl
Not knowing where to turn
To ease the pain, the burn

The teen glaring at the book
Unsure of where to look
To find the help needed
To work the problem without concedin’

The older man sitting alone
Left behind by those once known
Years weighing down, down, down
No one left to flip his frown

Who is my neighbor
They asked with a sneer
Asking the Man whose labor
Would bring them to God, near

Those who you’d help
Would be those who yelp
Whether quietly and still
Or loud and with will

For though we are strangers
In life there are many dangers
So together we must walk
Help others and not balk

For more than once, I know
We’ll all need a neighbor in tow
To reach out a shaking hand
Not sure of where we stand

But hold out a hand they do
Knowing that we need help, too
So our neighbor they will be
For they heard, “Help me.”

This was inspired not by any one event, but several that I have had, seen, or read about throughout my life.

Compassion Through Technology

As you’re sitting at your computer or holding your phone or reading this on a tablet or eReader pretending to be a tablet (you know they are, I know they are, the eReader knows they are), are you thinking about the technology that you’re using? What all are you using it for? What does it mean to you that you can talk to your family wherever you and they are provided that they also have access to the same technology that you’re currently using?

I know that I didn’t often think about the technology that I use daily and just what it means. There are times that I have:

-being able to call 911 for my mother when she had a stroke

-keeping in contact with family when they are all scattered throughout the States doing something with their lives

-being able to attend college even though I’m only awake at night for a few years

-knowing that my niece’s eye was saved from infection because of medical technology that didn’t exist when I was her age at the time

But I don’t think about these things often. I just plop down on the sofa and pull up my laptop to surf through the internet in a way that I couldn’t when I was a teen.

It’s because of this surfing that I do now as an adult that I came across a use for technology that combines several of the things that I only sometimes think about.

A young woman came to the United States with her new husband last year in 2013. She was smart and educated and was looking to further her education in Minnesota. She wasn’t able to do that, but it is what happened after she was admitted into the hospital that really made me think about the technology that I take for granted every single day.

This young woman, Sanaz Nezami was sent to the hospital with severe head injuries and due to severe swelling of her brain there was no blood flow in her brain. Her family lived in Iran and they would never be able to make it through all the red tape in order to make it over in time for her funeral, much less be able to visit her in the hospital. The hospital staff were able to set up a laptop with a webcam in her room to make it possible for her family to keep tabs on her and to see her.

This isn’t something you think of for use with our technology unless it’s dealing with business or the military. Everyone involved were civilians and/or hospital staff. It was a simple laptop to laptop connection that is easily setup using devices bought at a Wal-mart.

I have heard of families being able to attend a wedding via the web, but have never seen a family from so far away be able to keep eyes on their daughter/sister/cousin/friend who was in the hospital and dying. The staff at the hospital would make sure to talk not only with the patient who was never able to respond but with her family at the same time and complete requests for said family so that their daughter/sister/cousin/friend knew she was loved even as she was dying and unable to see or react or possibly even hear for herself. She would hopefully be able to feel the fingers that brushed back her hair and placed a gentle kiss on her brow before she died.