Thursday, April 16, 2015


I’m an over-thinking fool. It’s my blessing and my curse. It’s a blessing because it allows me to see the mystery, the majesty, and the beauty of this world. I’m amazed almost on a daily basis. On those days I’m less amazed, it’s only because I didn’t open my mind far enough to see the wonder of it all. It’s a curse - because with the same gift I can also see the ugliness, the hate, and the hell we create for ourselves. What do we have if we don’t have each other? Compassion is what makes us the most beautiful of human beings. The lack of it makes us the most evil.

Compassion isn’t empathy. We can all relate to different things in each other’s lives. Understanding is very important, and often the first step that leads to compassion. Yet, empathy doesn’t do anything for one another, it’s just a state of being.

We live in a world that has no commitment. We have so many choices these days, that when things get complicated, people get complicated, goals get complicated, we tuck tail and run. It’s easier to be on the outside, or in the first ring of commitment. It’s easier to stay in that excitement phase of friendships and relationships where everyone is just getting to know each other, where we focus on the good, where our imaginations fill in the fantasy because we haven’t yet had to deal with the truth or reality. But, when truth and reality begins to break down that fantasy, and we begin to feel the pull of adversity, noting differences and complications - we run. It’s so much easier to run and jump right into the next friendship, the next relationship, the next fantasy. The choices are plentiful. But what is being lost?

I see a man stuck in a rut. He’s miserable, unhappy, and really sailing through life without a compass of where he wants to go. He’s in an endless cycle of ups and downs, jumping from one pivotal problem to the next. By all worldly standards, he’s successful. He desires a great love, but he’s not willing to open his heart. When someone extends their hand of friendship, he turns away, choosing the uncomplicated, the stranger, the fantasy –knowing full well that it will only keep him in his rut. Perhaps he loves the rut. Perhaps he loves the struggle, or else perhaps that’s all he knows and it’s familiar to him. Where is his compassion?

I see a man riding a carousel. He loves all the pretty horses. When he sets his sight on one in particular, it consumes him and he puts all his wondrous focus on making his way through the vibrant colors to ride the horse of his dreams. He loves the journey, the spinning, waiting for the perfect opportunity to jump on the carousel, studying the timing, listening to the music. Once he mounts the horse of his choice, he rides with glee, proud of his achievement. His fantasy comes alive and he closes his eyes. But, then them again because the carousel stops. The wind no longer blows in his face, the music no longer fills his ears, and his horse no longer ascends and descends beneath him. So he dismounts and stands on the edge of the carousel until he spots another horse… and so the cycle goes. Why is he not satisfied to stay upon the horse he just rode? The ride will start again. He just has to wait. But, in his mind he wonders if the ride on the other horses is different, better, more adventurous. There’s too many choices. Why should he deal with the down moments of one particular horse when he can use that time to seek another, because in truth it is the hunt, the chase, the newness he desires most of all. Where is his compassion?

I see a woman who constantly loves the unlovable, the unattainable, the shallow, narcissistic, and vain. While there are many lined at her door holding out hearts full of devotion, she passes by without so much as a nod in their direction. She is cold and seeks the dancing fire. Oh, the fire burns bright and hot. She’s lived in the cold darkness for so long the fire has become intoxicating to her. She dances among the flames. They lick her skin and warm her cold bones until she begins to burn. The flames are wild, yet she foolishly tries to control them. Where is her compassion?

Compassion. Where has it gone? We don’t have time for it anymore, or the patience to see it through. I am as guilty as my neighbor on the left, and not quite as guilty as the one on the right. There is still compassion in the world. The only thing that is changing is my ability to see it. That vision stems from the temperature of my heart. It grows colder and harder every day. Will I too soon be in a rut, not satisfied with my horse, or burn among the flames? I don’t know. It’s too complicated to think about. Why should I waste such energy when there are funny cat videos to watch, a dozen or more date request waiting for a reply, a new fantasy in which to escape? Compassion is for the truly great, and convenience is for the fools. I am a fool.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

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