Charleston

11391753_10205230335572118_7893354269897720239_nCompassion. Right now I’m struggling to address any topic concerning compassion for #1000Speak when outrage clouds my vision. This has felt like the spring of illness. Sure, time and again I’ve fought bronchitis only to be felled by fever, nausea, and flooding lungs the last several days, but that pales against the sickness that is killing people in this country.

How long…how long must we sing this song…” As I stared at the blank screen to begin writing this post these words from over 30 years ago repeated in my head.

The events in Charleston, the mass shooting, the mass murder of human beings because their skin color is different then the shooter’s has yet again left me wondering what’s required for compassion to replace hate? And then I hear the news that compassion is flowing from the African-American community.

Compassion needs to flow both ways. It needs to flow in all directions.

Historically, race was a term Europeans of old employed to make themselves feel superior and to help justify slavery. Slavery is gone in the US, but its most evil elements, like hatred, for instance, remain, hiding and slithering in the grass. In these supposedly more enlightened times, valuing people on the basis of skin color or some other insignificant feature should rank as a colossal act of stupidity, yet it exists as proof that we’re the most insecure creatures on Earth. That we should have to continually search for ways to belittle others in an effort to raise our own self-worth fills me with shame.

There’s only one race, the human race, and it’s descended from a common ancestor.

Hatred is like weeds, thus ignoring humanity’s field is the same as nurturing a field of hate. Better that we should till the field and sow the seeds of compassion and kindness. Care. Attention. Diligence. If we make the effort then the seeds of compassion help bring forth a flowering, help set a good example for all, and help to end needless suffering.

Speaking hate, in that it’s free speech, is protected in our Constitution, but that doesn’t mean we should should turn away from those who are targets on the battlefield. It means even implied hate speech should be questioned. It means communities shouldn’t tolerate hate groups setting up shop within their borders. It means compassion should never fall silent or hesitate to act.

Outrage burns deep, but compassion burns bright.

Given my fervent tone, is my connection to other compassion posts a fragile one? I don’t think so. It isn’t enough to extend my compassion in the form of condolences and tears for those slaughtered in Charleston, nor is it enough to do the same for their families. Instead, what’s needed is compassion now and forever, compassion that embraces, and compassion that isn’t afraid to speak loud enough for everyone to hear, “You’re one of us and as one of us we have your back.”

Compassion demands that we embrace all who suffer. Silence demonstrates the opposite.

9 Replies to “Charleston”

  1. Pingback: Charleston | Christina Anne Hawthorne

  2. Such a horrific event in time. When will we learn, that we are all from one blood? It saddens me to read of this senseless act of hate. My heart goes out to those families and their tragic loss.

  3. I’m also wondering how we get from where we are to a world that is loving, understanding, tolerant and kind. There is so much hate in the world. Is there enough love to drown it?

    • I’m also unsure of the path, for it’s amazed me how well and how long the serpent hid in the grass. I was little during the Civil Rights Movement of the ’60s, but my impressionable self of that time wanted to believe the killing would end. Nope. Education (and I don’t necessarily mean school-based education) is so often the door that allows love inside. It’s more difficult to hate someone when you know their story. The bigger challenge, though, may be finding a path where people will listen. All the talk in the world is meaningless if no one is listening. My words mean nothing if no one reads.

  4. Excellent post. I sense a new movement underway, which grows stronger with expressions such as this. Thank you!

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