I haven't posted since the incident in January and used that time to do a lot of soul-searching. A lot of it was fruitless. I told my boss' boss of the circumstances behind my asking for a day off because my boss was vacationing at the time. She was very gracious and extended my request of one day off to multiple. She asked an interesting question though, "Why do you think you had that dream now instead of in October or earlier?" I've mulled that over and over and have mixed feelings about it.

My views on compassion and kindness were reinforced recently when a good friend of ours was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She is a recent mother in her late twenties and is scheduled for surgery tomorrow. When we were given the news early last week, we sent cards of encouragement to both she and her husband. Lauren wanted to send a card as well and chose a very suitable card. On the front is a young boy with an obvious, teeth-bared, look of effort on his face. The card says, "I'm praying as hard as I can for you." And she is. She insisted on enclosing a dollar to emphasize how much her heart is breaking and is making every effort to make her feel better. We got a Facebook reply from her that said as much as our cards were appreciated, Lauren's was her favorite because she knew that Lauren meant it. Not that she thought our feelings were insincere but that there was somehow a purity in the innocence of a child saying she wanted her healthy again.

So Lauren has influenced me instead of the other way around. I'm okay with that. I've lost some of my own innocence over the years and adore hearing her perspective on things. I've reached the conclusion that I'm more frequently morally outraged without the accompanying compassionate heartbreak that should be there. What I hope to see in myself are fewer jokes about things that I shouldn't be amused by in the first place. So, I'm working on my compassion - an uphill battle worth fighting, Thank you, Lauren.

Five Replies to Compassion

Scott Hardie | March 24, 2011
The battle is definitely worth fighting, to become a better person. Is it about tuning out certain aspects of your psyche that react a certain way, or is it about nurturing the better qualities within you so that they grow stronger? It seems weird to ask that way, but it seems strange to try to turn off your natural reactions to certain things, if that's what you mean. Humor, for instance, can be a very effective method for coping with impossible tragedy, and it's too often frowned upon as inappropriate when in fact it may be the healthiest reaction.

Steve West | March 24, 2011
It's more on the lines of suppressing my baser instincts - an addition by subtraction methodology. When Tiger gets smacked with a five iron, should I laugh? Or should my heart break over another marriage heading toward the cliff edge? Should I shamefully giggle about his lack of ball control or inwardly weep over his children destined to have a part-time father in their future. I just want to stop seeing humor in what should be humorless situations. On the other hand I don't want to become humorless. I laugh a lot. I'd like to be comfortable in knowing what things are genuinely funny and when it just devolves into mocking. I pray a lot. That's what I want my first instinct to be. Thoughtful, sincere prayer and not the best one-liner for the situation.

Jackie Mason | March 30, 2011
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Jackie Mason | March 30, 2011
[hidden by author request]

Steve West | March 30, 2011
Thanks for the kind words. I really don't feel that awful. It's just time for a reevaluation of my priorities. I'm reassessing what's important to my life right now and discarding what's not important at all, emotionally, spiritually, and philosophically. You're spot on with all the "walk the talk" stuff. Thanks again.

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