When someone dies or a tragedy strikes, our emotions come in full-force and we tend to become empathetic, forgiving, less petty, non-political, and non-visual. We let our feelings guide us. We need to be like that more often.
Let me give a grand example: September 11, 2001. Those of us who are old enough are currently remembering where we were, what we were doing, and the emotions that overwhelmed us, not only as a human, but as a nation. We stopped a lot of things we were doing and started thinking about others. That list included our family, neighbors, strangers we had never met and their families. Why? Because the country was suffering and we became one source for comfort and caring for people we knew nothing about. We didn’t care about the color of skin, the job these people had, how rich or poor they were, or who they voted for in the last election. Why did we stop? My assumption is “normal” came back. For many, “normal” changed that day, but only for those directly affected and who lost something that day.
As a community, there have been rallies for a young teenager battling cancer. Sadly, she is losing that battle, but not because she didn’t give it a good fight! Such a trooper! I do not know this young girl, nor do I know much about her family, but I have seen what I call “the 9-11” affect because of her. Strangers wearing purple in her honor, signs in yards, banners in windows, and purple cancer ribbons everywhere. What an inspiration she has been to us in her battle. We can learn a lot from this and the responses made due to her.
I remember when I lost my son five and a half years ago (not like I will ever forget that moment) but the outpouring of love and unconditional willingness of people to do whatever they could that they thought would ease my pain and sorrow. This came from people I had no connections with as well as my previous examples. What I hope is that these same people are continuing that type of compassion and support of others. My fear is their life went on and their “normal” came back too!
Why do we wait for a tragedy to become a caring community or nation. We speak to people we don’t know without caring about their backgrounds during times like this and it is warming to my heart. Then, time passes and here we go again: seeming to care who someone voted for; who someone is sharing their bed with; how much money someone makes; how someone dresses; etc. Why? Why can we not go back to how we treated others in the face of a tragedy? When an outsider is showing this caring and compassion and then re-enters their “normal” as I stated above, those of us accepting this compassion in our time of sorrow will never have that “normal” again. We are turning a page to a new normal. Our compassion for others is never-ending because of what we have received.
I am changed forever due to that outpouring of love and support, as I know others who have been on this road are changed. The families of the 9-11 attack, families of airline passengers who had their family member’s flight crash, parents of teenagers and small children who have battled cancers, car wrecks, drugs, etc, will forever be changed by compassion that must need a tragedy to exist.
I am grateful for what I received, but my wish is that we treat each other with this caring and compassion regularly!! We are all battling a situation that could use caring and compassion. The old adage of looking at a situation through “rose colored glasses” comes to mind. We should always remember the ‘feeling’ we have when this situation hits a family, community, or nation at all times, even when there is not a tragedy. This action of caring unconditionally goes a long way during a tragedy or crisis, but it goes even farther when it is from the heart regardless of the situation!
I am sure people will wonder “how do you respond when there is not a ‘reason’ such as a tragedy of some sort.” Well, this can start by being nice and speaking to strangers in the grocery line, holding the door for someone even though they are still ten feet away, paying for the coffee of the person behind you in line, and removing the need to judge based on skin color, dress style, or type of car someone drives. It is that simple! And, it is free!!
As I put myself back in the moment I lost my son and remember all the emotions this new family will be experiencing, I never want to forget the feeling of compassion, caring, and sympathy that was extended to me by so many I knew, and more-so, so many I didn’t know. Please take a moment to reconcile any differences that have been present and remember there are many we can assist with a kind gesture. Many lives have been changed by doing so and I, for one, am among those who have been the recipient of those kind gestures and compassion we forget to show. Remember that feeling going forward.
#rememberthefeeling #caringandcompassion #neverforget #thedashinthemiddle