Subtitle: When compassion makes a new day old.
Dawn. The gift of the rotation of the earth’s axis and the world-round, world-renowned signal to arise and engage in the renewal of opportunities. Nevertheless, there are mornings when a new day is too-soon old.
So, it was, so it is this morning.
Last night, I went to bed weary. Not body-weary. Though, yes, for a guy in his latter-sixties, I was physically tired enough. Yet, more, I felt, I was world-weary.
Last night, though it’s not the first time, I fell into bed with a fatigue that ran, drained down to the depths of my soul (that part of my human-beingness, as spiritual, thus, immortal, through which I am intrinsically connected to all time, all people, all things).
Last night, I felt the pressing weight of time, people, and things, too numerous to count, of the incidences, evidences of the ills wrought by natural calamity and human evil. (For the longest time and for whatever reasons, some known to me, most unconscious, thus, not, I have noted that I am more sensitive to shadow than light, more attuned to sorrow and suffering than joy.)
And it is not that I believe that my list of woes is greater or worse that of any other person. For knowing that any one of us at any time can enumerate, in the words of the spiritual, “the troubles I’ve seen,” I do not. Nevertheless, my list is my list.
And if only it was comprised of my daily, personal worries (which, at times, are not insubstantial), that would be enough. But, again, last night and unto this morning, it encompasses, proverbially and literally, the world’s woes.
This multiplication of burden is the fruit of compassion (from the Latin, com-, “with” + passio, suffering; being that ability and willingness to suffer for the sake of another person or circumstance).
There are moments, like this morning, when I, quite familiar, indeed, intimate with the inward workings of my self-interest and my willful selfishness, might wish to devote myself to more cheerful matters. I might wish to divert my attention, to distance myself from any and all ill.
However, that would mean, demand that I become dispassionate. Passionless. A Greek word occurs. Ataraxia. A Stoic-virtue of being free from all disturbing emotions.
As tranquil as this may be, I prefer or, at least, accept my compassion-induced fatigue, which, for me, is a physical indicator and a psychic reminder that I do not and cannot stand apart from the world around me. Rather I am at-one with all creation and at league, hand-in-hand with all people.
Thus, I have learned to live a deeper meaning of one of Jesus’ words of the way life is as God hath created it: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5.4).