Friday, July 29, 2011

Passion Vs. Compassion

The word passion means:
often capitalized a : the sufferings of Christ between the night of the Last Supper and his death b : an oratorio based on a gospel narrative of the Passion
obsolete : suffering
: the state or capacity of being acted on by external agents or forces
a (1) : emotion passion is greed> (2) plural : the emotions as distinguished from reason b : intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction c : an outbreak of anger
a : ardent affection : love b : a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept c : sexual desire d : an object of desire or deep interest

The word compassion means:
: sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it.

In more simplistic terms, passion is a feeling and compassion is an active and conscious decision to alleviate distress (hunger, suffering, imprisonment, danger, pain, etc.).   What’s the difference?  Though we (humans) are filled with emotions and those emotions often dictate our reactions and responses, they do not rule us.  We always have a choice to give into our passions and desires, or overcome them.  However, compassion isn’t an emotional response, but a conscious pattern of thought where we use our intellect to assess a situation, event or conflict and see a path of deliverance.  

You see, it’s passionate to see a hungry child and feed it. We react out of our passion; our feelings.  However, when we assess their situation and use our intellect to see a way to alleviate that child’s hunger in the long run; that’s compassion.  Compassion isn’t devoid of passion, but sometimes, and often many times, passion is devoid of compassion. 

Passion creates a social system that will put a band-aid over an open sore.  Compassion understands there are infectious bacteria inside the sore and needs an antibiotic, but also needs a lesson in prevention.  Compassion understands that we can’t stand around every day and continue to throw band-aids at the diseases that plague our society. 

One of the common arguments I hear is: “Parent’s aren’t teaching their children basic sanitary practices, which lead to the spread of disease, therefore it’s OUR responsibility to care for these sick children AND their ignorant parents.”  That’s passion speaking.

Compassion will say, “While we treat children with infections, we teach them how to clean THEMSELVES to prevent the spreading of further infection.  For a trial period, we help the parents get on their feet and give them an opportunity to SHOW (their words and promises mean nothing) so they can be responsible.” 

Doing something for someone isn’t helping them; it handicaps and enslaves them. 
I found myself in my early twenties as a single mom with two babies and unable to pay my bills.  I applied for welfare and within a few days received my first AFDC check, Medicaid for myself and my children, and a book of food stamps.  I can’t tell you what a relief it was that I was able for the first time to pay my rent, on time.  That lasted for a couple months until I began to look for steady regular work.  I enjoyed the few weeks I got to be home with my babies without worrying whether I was going to be homeless and someone in a pencil skirt and jacket would show up and take my kids away from me because I couldn’t take care of their basic needs. Now they could eat, sleep and see the doctor in relative comfort.  I bought their governmental promises, hook, line and sinker, at least until the rose colored glasses slid down my nose.  
Though I had graduated high school and had a few quarters of college under my belt, I wasn’t qualified for any high paying jobs.  In the area I lived, it consisted mostly of service jobs – nursing homes and restaurants.  So, my options were limited – wait tables or clean bottoms.  I applied to the nursing home and got a job as a nursing assistant making minimum wage. I had to start somewhere.  I was very proud of myself.  I knew things would be really tight because the cost of daycare would take over half my paycheck each week, but combined with my AFDC and Food Stamps, I could see a path out of the deep well of despair within a year. This welfare thing was GREAT!  However, that dream shattered when I called my caseworker and shared with her the news of my new job!  That’s the moment I realized I had iron shackles around my ankles.  

To continue to receive AFCD, Food Stamps and Medicaid, I couldn’t have a job.  They would deduct what I earned from my check, require me to obtain my own medical insurance plan and reduce my food stamps.  I couldn’t even buy a car to get me back and forth to work, because they’d have to deduct the value of the vehicle from my benefits.  

I didn’t see the benefit of my benefits anymore.  It seemed like the same method pimps used to keep prostitutes under submission and in service, where the pimps (government) got them(women, children) addicted and dependent on the drugs (benefits) to keep them in enslaved service (keep the programs running & use as a political tool).  

I only had a few choices in front of me:  Submit to this form of slavery, like most of my neighbors in the housing projects and trailer parks where I lived, and teach this slave mentality to my children.  OR, lie and risk going to jail for perjury and theft and lose my children.  OR, struggle for a LONG time choosing to work two jobs and allow daycare and babysitters to raise my children for a while until I could get to a point where only one job was needed.  I didn’t have to have the best, but my kids deserved the best.  I worked hard for three years, forgot about ALL of MY wants because I was responsible for my situation and to supply the needs of my children.  

I climbed out the bottomless well I once found myself.  It was hard; the hardest thing I ever did.  I did it without any government help, all the while paying my taxes (which I could have really used), and reminded myself daily that I deserved better, and so did my kids.  I wasn’t rich, but I was free.  Most of all, my children respected me and were taught the pride of honest living.  They know that if they want to accomplish anything in this world, they’d have to do it themselves, not expect someone to do it for them or hand it out to them.  They have seen firsthand the results of a handout.  

My children are not children anymore, they’re all adults.  I’ve had many successes in my life since that bleak period.  I’ve moved up the corporate ladder in a male dominated business, I got married, I started my own company, and I’m reaching for my dreams of being a writer and was published in 2009.  I’ve already accomplished a great deal and I just turned 40.  I can’t imagine what’s next.

I still don’t have a whole lot of money.  In fact, I live just barely above poverty level.  Yet, I spend much of time now in volunteer work.  I help feed the poor, educate the ignorant, hold the hands of new dreamers, and share the gifts given to me with those around me.  I look for opportunities to help and to give, but NEVER in an entitlement program.  I don’t help everyone with their hands out… Like Jesus, I ask, “Do you really want to be healed, be delivered and set free?”  If so, then in my COMPASSION I’ll PASSIONATELY help and lead them to the way or answer that will help alleviate their distress.   And that doesn’t make me a hypocrite.

I’ve worked hard for what little I have, and I give regularly over 15% of my gross income to charitable organizations and projects I believe are compassionately helpful.  However, I don’t like the government sticking their hands in my pocket and taking from me what THEY think I should support.  They can’t even pay their own bills, but they want to tell me how to pay mine.  I’ve yet to see ONE entitlement program actually make a true difference.  Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.  These entitlement programs have failed over and over and over and over, creating generations of slaves… yet they expect them to magically start working and changing the world.  The government is a plantation owner and the recipients of entitlements are the indentured slaves, and with a slave mentality they think it’s better to pick cotton on the plantation than be free and have to work among the unknown and uncertain where there’s a chance at success and failure.  Fear of the unknown is the greatest shackle of them all, and that is what our government sells best.