When compassion moves your soulÖ
Compassion moves us when we see others facing lifeís toughest moments
- and assures us that despite everything thatís wrong with this world,
there are also moments of hope that assures humanity is not dead - not
yet at least. For those of us who yearn to find that place of assurance,
it is there.
The outpouring of sympathy by the Indian public for the twins joined
at the hip at birth and abandoned by parents who could not afford the
cost of surgery, was one such moment that brought a country in a moment
of empathy for them. A team of medical specialists from India and
Australia, supported by nursing staff, had performed the operation
successfully. They had also managed to convince the parents to take the
children back. In a country where girl babies are aborted routinely and
villagers like to condemn disfigured or abnormal children as bad omens,
the story of the girls come as a breath of fresh air.
What makes us human lies within all of us. We just need to find it -
for some of us, nothing moves our spirit which is sad. Some will not be
touched easily by anotherís tragedy. Yet for so many others, they will
be moved by anotherís plight and will want to do something to change it
for the better.
For the Indian girls who were joined at the hip, they have given hope
to many others whose lives can be changed by a similar outpouring of
compassion. Here in Sri Lanka, we see this all the time but some of us
are weary about such claims because people in todayís money driven
society tend to cheat so much. It is not uncommon to see mothers holding
infants and toddlers begging at city junctions - their eyes glassy from
some kind of substance abuse, their children constantly asleep probably
drugged or given some form of medicine to make them sleep. So you wonder
- is my sense of compassion misplaced?
Yet for every trickster, there are genuine people who need surgical
interventions to save their lives - or those who need some form of
support to recover from illness or life threatening circumstances. Too
often, a generous offer is mistreated when the recipient tries to live
off charity for life - it is easy for such people to be driven by a
hunger for easy money. Yet there are others who, when given a fishing
rod instead of a fish, will build a source of livelihood.
Some prefer a hand out or evoking a sense of sympathy in place of
hard work. Hand outs cannot last but they somehow find innovative ways
of obtaining sympathy followed by monetary help. It can also arise out
of a tragedy - as we witnessed following the tsunami. For some, the
compassion shown by their countrymen was an opportunity to grab material
benefits. There are others who genuinely benefitted from the benevolence
It is the same level of compassion that drives us to give a few
rupees to someone begging outside our door. Although it is ideally not
our concern to worry about what they do with it - even though we know
for sure that most of those who beg are employed by beggar mudalalis who
run beggar rings - I would like to know and take comfort in knowing that
my charity was not misused nor my compassion taken for granted.
There is a place for rightly placed charity in our hearts. Despite
the swindlers, the opportunists, the fakes, human heart still beats with
a drop of compassion that balances out an otherwise materialistic world.
We have become so accustomed to looking at the world through a
looking glass that usually only shows the material benefits - the new
car, the new clothes, the new house etc. Yet all of that pales into
insignificance when you are given the opportunity to engage in a
justifying act of charity towards someone who may not know where his
next meal is coming from.
Letís set our hearts on doing good - at least one act of charity a
month. We do not always have to give money - we can also give our time,
our effort, our ear and ourselves.