Friday, June 12, 2009

Patience and time

CompassionImage by Lawrence OP via Flickr

I finished my Masters Degree in Family Science 8 years ago, but never got my diploma.

Why? Because our baby boy was born 2 months before I finished school, we bought a bigger home, our girl was born 1 year and 40 days later and our baby girl was born 1 year and 9 days after her sister.

Our expenses grew astronomically. We didn't have the money to publish my dissertation and present the defense of what I wrote, even though it was written one year before I finished school.

Eight years later, I have a new dissertation director and she suggested that I added a new chapter to it. A whole chapter about compassion.

I have been reading all I can find about the subject and have found so many interesting ideas.

I am convinced that there is no excuse for the lack of compassion: stupidity and ignorance are not excuses for me.

Before my own children died, I was sure that compassion is the back bone of being human. I was so wrong.

Compassion is not taught in school and many children live in a compassion-free environment, so they don't know how to be compassionate.

Compassion requires discipline. Discipline requires patience. Patience requires time.

If we want to grow in compassion in our daily lives, we have to be able to have time to invest being compassionate.

Allow me to tell you a story: Mary meets Anne, they have been PTA members for years. Mary is in a hurry - as most people in the world - and asks Anne how is she. She replies that she is not OK. Mary, running to fit her life into her tight schedule, says "Great, good to see you" and leaves.

Have you ever been in such a situation? I bet you have. It doesn't matter if you acted like Mary or if you reacted like Anne.

If we truly want to be compassionate towards our fellow human beings, we have to have time to listen, to be present for them.

I am sure Mary had a zillion things to do, but were they as important as being fully present for Anne?

Maybe they were, but I believe that Mary should have listened to Anne. Just a direct look into the others eyes, an "I am sorry" and the promise to get together later and talk, would have made the difference in Anne's life... and in Mary's as well.

The next time you encounter someone who is suffering, please be present for them. Give them the time you have. Think what is urgent and what is important in life. You may not have 2 free hours to sit right there and then, but just five minutes, give your fullest attention to him or her. Listen with your heart and with your mind.

You'll be amazed by the experience!
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments:

Post a Comment