This week we are weaving the thread of compassion.
It's so very easy to have compassion for those we love, or for those we see as less fortunate, or victims, or others who are marginalized by society. It's quite another thing to have compassion for those we see as our enemies. Why should we feel compassion for someone who intentionally harms another and may well benefit from that act? When I watch the pictures of the children of Syria, bloodied and stunned, am I supposed to have compassion for those who perpetrated the atrocity? When animals are killed and brutalized for sport, am I supposed to have compassion for the man with the gun posing with his trophy? When a terrorist kills hundreds of people just to prove his point, am I supposed to feel compassion for him as well? The answer, hard as it is to accept (remember acceptance from week 2?), is yes.
Nelson Mandela was famous for reminding people that no one is born hating. The man who fired the mortar that bloodied that child was not born wanting to harm that child. The man who killed the animal was not born wanting to kill. The terrorist was not born so consumed with his beliefs that he wanted to commit such a heinous crime. Each and every one of them were born wanting nothing more than to be loved, to be held and nurtured. Each and every one of them, just like us, became the victims of their culture and belief system. All of them wanted peace.
So I pray and send compassion for all those who were born wanting love and were fed a steady diet of hate. When I see what looks like mania in their eyes, I see an innocent child that was starved for love. When I see brutality, I also see fear. And I pray for all of them. I may not like them, but I have compassion for them. They didn't ask for any of this.
Compassion is one of those things that, the more of it you give out, the more there is in the world to spread around. Wouldn't it be beautiful if there was so much compassion in the world that we could destroy each and every weapon on the face of the planet? Compassion, love, and understanding would be all we needed to feel safe. And in the final instance, isn't that what it's all about anyway?
And so it is.