Where’s the compassion?

Arrrgh!!  Some days are just so frustrating!

A lot of life is frustrating of course.  Fighting traffic, pushing through crowds, dealing with less-than-helpful customer support services, and fighting with uncooperative computers a la Office Space are typical daily frustrations.  But today I’m talking about people.

More specifically, I’m talking about people who lack compassion.  One day I wasn’t able to walk, so a friend and I did some shopping with me in a wheelchair, her pushing it.  There was the sweet teenager who saw us coming and ran ahead to open a door.  But then there was the woman who told us we were being too slow and rudely pushed her way past us.  Nice, huh?  Well, this second one is the type I’m talking about today.

In the last few days I’ve been hearing too many things, directly and indirectly, that demonstrate how much some people lack compassion.  There was the woman who told me, while talking about my health, that my “reputation is the most important thing.”  There’s a friend who needs an incredibly simple accommodation at work, he brought in the medical documentation, and he’s being given the runaround by his employer.  And non-health-related, there’s the person whose office scheduled a mandatory meeting for yesterday, the start of  Jewish holiday, and then gave her a hard time for leaving early to prepare for the holiday.

In many ways our culture is one of me, me, me.  Sometimes I see people thinking about the good of their neighborhood, the good of their community, or the good of society in general.  That’s a start.  Less often, I see people who try to put themselves in the places of their friends, neighbors, and colleagues and who try to truly understand their wants and needs.  It’s a shame; I really believe this world would be a better place if we all did that from time to time.  Yes, that sounds a bit Pollyanna-ish, but I believe it.  When an elderly woman comes onto the train with a cane, give up your seat.  And when a healthy-looking 20-something asks for your seat, believe they have a good reason, and give it up with a smile.  It’s possible you’ll make someone’s day just a bit easier.

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