Open your heart, mind, and soul to the pain and suffering in the world. Reach out to others and discover the rewards and obligations of deep feeling.
Spiritual Literacy -- Reading the Spiritual in Everyday Life, by Frederick and Mary Ann Brussat.
"Open your heart, mind, and soul to the pain and suffering in the world." I find it ironic that tonight, as I try to write this, my television screen beams the last night of the Republican National Convention into my living room. Only a few minutes ago, Clint Eastwood assured the hall and the assembled faithful that "we own this country." And those simple words, intended to draw the picture of a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people," seem frightening in that context and in that setting. Eastwood may have, inadvertently, spoken the pure truth -- those people are the "owner class," and they are not the least bit confused about that -- even as they work hard to make sure the rest of us don't tumble to the fact.
So. Ours is a world where the gap between the haves and the have nots grows wider and wider and wider. Children starve, or die horribly in war, or live out their lives in abject slavery. Years and decades after the beginnings of the environmental movement, too many species are still teetering on the brink of extinction, and the planet grows warmer and warmer year after year. Crazy people with guns walk into our schools, our places of entertainment, and our houses of worship -- and destroy and kill the innocents they find there. Our kids can't find jobs. Our elders can't pay for their medications. Most days, when I get off the highway on my way home from school, some poor soul stands there with a cardboard sign and a plea for just a bit of change. And on and on and on...
So many problems. If we look, it is easy to become jaded and overwhelmed and depressed by the sheer magnitude of the need around us. Living life with compassion is a risky venture. I get that feeling deeply brings with it unavoidable obligations, but rewards? What might those be? I'm not sure that I know the answer. I want to believe that I try to live with compassion, but I also know that I protect myself from going too deep. I husband my resources. I do. So, this one comes with a challenge -- take the risk, and reach out just a bit further today than yesterday. See what might come.