Reeks of Compassion

You never know who you will find inside the disguise.  The protection.  The armor.

Just look in her eyes.  Just smell his breath.  Just try to imagine combing her course twisted hair.  Just think what his skin looks like underneath that layer of grime.  He can’t remember the last time he went to the dentist and he’s since lost three teeth.  You don’t get your teeth fixed.  You live with the holes.  You don’t think about your teeth because all you can think about it the next.

Compassion.  This reeks of compassion.  Not judgment.  Not denial.  Not refusal to see who is in front of you trying to survive.

Just think how badly she’d like a luxurious bubble bath with the fancy bubbles that are just sitting on your tub because you are too busy to take 15 minutes to stop and soak.  There is no soaking out there.  There is no luxuriating for the addict and alcoholic.  There is no reveling in the good times and then looking forward to tomorrow where it’s back to the normal routine.  There is no normal out here.  There is no routine.  There is no safety and there are no guidelines.  It’s the wild west and you don’t ever relax.  You are always on your guard.  There is just go and keep going because if you don’t you run the risk of being caught or not having enough junk and you start to withdraw.  Which is worse?

Just think what it must be like to never ever for one moment feel the security of a warm space and loving arms around you.  Think of what it feels like to have no guarantee of anything for the next few hours let alone tomorrow and the day after that.  It’s a wonder any of us survive.  It’s apparent once you get any type of security in your life that you don’t for one second one minute one hour take any of it for granted.

For the rest of your life you will remember what it was like when people smelled you and backed away jarringly.  For the rest of your life you will remember the women you met behind bars who teased you coldly and mercilessly and asked you what you were doing there only to then feel so badly for you because you were ever more pathetic than they were. Hardened.  Done.  Ready to give up.  No fight left.  Indifferent.

Until that moment behind bars when you felt that moment of clarity.  That moment of grace.  That moment of OH NO THIS IS NOT ALL THERE IS AND I WANT MORE. That this was not the way you were going to go out. This was not the ending to your story.  And so you rose up.  You had folks who met you and helped along the way and now you do your best to do the same for those in need.


For the rest of your life you will never for the life of you understand how people can be so miserable.  How people can complain about every little thing.  How people can find something measly to moan about.  It will sicken you.  It will make you go back out.  Unless you keep helping others.  Unless you keep finding the gratitude.  Unless you keep your heart open and feed your compassion.

We are all human beings.  We all crave love and respect.  When we don’t get it, we do terrible things.  Even when we do get it sometimes we do terrible things.  Forgiveness heals.  Forgiveness protects.  Forgiveness of ourselves and others allows living in the light for the rest of your days.

You find the mundanity of people complaining about their great lives unbearable.  Because you know what it’s like to want that mundane normalcy so badly.  That life with the husband and the job and the kids and the security of today. Knowing full well that it could all be stripped of you at any moment should the right circumstances hit.  It could be any one of us that benefits from compassion.  Karma.  Karma.  Karma.

Nobody wants what the unfortunates have.  Nobody wants that misery. Nobody wants that pity they receive.  But sometimes it’s just easier to let it swallow us whole.  We need each other to pull us out.  We need to see it and feel it and understand it.  It’s not exclusive to the less fortunate, as it could happen to any of us.  We could all have something terrible and unfortunate befall us.  What if we weren’t afraid of those who are different than us?  What if we actually showed compassion and not fear.

You never know who you will find inside the disguise.  The protection.  The armor.

What if we taught our kids that “those people” are all somebody’s babies.  What if we taught them to ask the questions and to really listen for the answers.  Listen for more questions.  Everyone needs to be heard. Even those most deem unworthy.  Be the hand that reaches in.  We can’t reach everyone, but we can sure try.  When the trying stops, only then have we failed.


See also – From Homelessness to Parenthood: If This Backpack Could Talk and If Life were Fair I would be Dead


This is part of a group of 1000+ bloggers out there today blogging about Compassion.  How Awesome is that?  If you look on twitter for the hashtag #1000speak you will find so much excellent stuff.  Please like and share and pass it on.


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