With 5% of my laptop battery left, I’m running against the clock for this blog. Laziness (for a charger) tends to promote expediency.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the topic of compassion. It seems like there’s a large shortage of it in the world, lately. I have heard many definitions of compassion, over the years, but my personal definition implies the ability to see/hear/empathize with another, because you are able to understand their position. In the event that you aren’t able to fully understand their view, I also believe compassion is the missing element that closes the gap of understanding, enabling the understanding to occur because you grant the other person leniency in judgement, often held in places where understanding is lacking.

In the Plaat family, we have had countless arguments. Countless. Looking back on them, I struggle to remember the topics of disagreement. Yet, the sting of those arguments is what is still vivid in my memory; moments where brutal verbal assaults were launched between loving members of a family.

Looking back to look forward, I think that the lesson here is that compassion and understanding could have transformed many of those moments into their polar opposite; beautiful memories that I could treasure, instead of times I’d rather forget.

Voices tend to raise, tempers shorten, and hands turn to fists (or trigger fingers) at the end of “Hearing road” – the place where individuals want to be heard.

Compassion-in-action is the art of allowing that voice to be heard, usually done by shutting up our own. I’ve seen a lot this year during the moments I’ve intentionally shut up. It doesn’t mean that it heals all wounds. In fact, it can often allow new ones to occur – at which point you graduate from practice of compassion, to forgiveness.

That will be a blog for another time. 4%.

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