“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.”
― Andrew Boyd, The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe
Last week I cried when I watched a news video about evictions in Houston, so far away from where I live, yet it felt so close. I don’t know the people, I don’t know the city, but the story about the young man, who got evicted with his wife and his baby left me in tears.
I told my husband about it, still emotionally in turmoil hours later, still not understanding what is going on; unable to help or to do anything I needed to share and as always he listened.
“Well, find out where they are and if they have the money for a bus ticket they can live with us,” he said and I felt better.
Yes, that’s what I will do, I thought, but of course I didn’t do anything. Writing to CNN would have been a start. I was actually angry with them and any other news outlet out there. How dare you record people in distress, showing me their despair and then walk away and don’t do anything about it. They all should have funds available to instantly help right then and there. Don’t they make enough money?
The old lady, sitting on her chair outside the apartment where she lived for years. The young man with his family, not having a car, being forced onto the streets where nobody is willing to help. Transporting their belonging in the kid’s buggy. It was all too much.
Am I the only one who hurts when she sees ‘stuff’ like that?
Yesterday, only three days later, my husband who is always trying to share new news with me -unsuccessfully I might add because I don’t want to hear what his phone has to say- showed me the headline.
The man who got evicted in Houston has gotten help. People from all over this country had felt exactly the same emotional turmoil. One of them started a ‘GoFundMe’ for the young man and his family, another one started one with the goal to help people who face eviction. All of them got more donation then they asked for. Even a NFL player in Houston was concerned about the well-being of the old lady and promised to help. All of it felt so good.
The fact is I am normal. What I feel is normal, my inner uproar is normal. I am am not alone, neither am I a fool. There are many just like me who still feel what we all should feel. Compassion toward other human beings, even though we might not know them.
He is right, compassion hurts, perhaps it has to.
I feel better now, until the next time when another avalanche of emotions will roll over me unexpectedly.