To Talk of Many Things… (Vol. #6 – Compassion)

You say you have compassion; social consciousness which sets you above the rest. You rail at injustice (sometimes real though often perceived through your oh-so perfected filters of subjugation). You vote the right way, you march during the great mobilizations of contempt, you use the correct hashtags and eat at the right establishments and protest at those speakers the rejection of whom so acutely demonstrates to the world your understanding, your enlightenment. You perceive your struggle to be epic; and yourselves to be descendants of gods upon Mount Olympus.

But what do you do, not for your planetary battleground into which you launch arrows and bombs in 120 characters or through like-and-share mongering? How do you show your compassion? Do you set aside money from each paycheck to put a little girl in the third world through elementary school? Do you stop to help an old man rake his leaves in the encroaching days of winter and engage him on his memories of family, not the turbulent talk of Trump? Do you spend your time cleaning your own community, looking for bits of trash or cigarette stubs left by the careless? What about a food drive for the inner-city vulnerable; no blue donkey to be seen anywhere. Have you built homes for the poor; have you traveled to a foreign land to make common cause with the struggles of the not-so-prosperous and thereby atoned somewhat for your tantrum? Have you sought out the widowed or the single-mothers in your church in order to prepare for them a meal – or perhaps invite them all to Thanksgiving, an act of generosity and compassion which might soothe your scalded spirit if only for a day?

Have you sought out somebody who fought to make our country great, to protect it from foes – perhaps somebody who is alone and hurting – and said thank you, inviting them in, laying aside for a season your bitterness?

Are you kind to others? Have you thought to hurl love-languages over twitter against those whose ideas so offend you; who you have declared your bitter enemy, who you have branded deplorable? Have you sought for a moment to understand them, from where they are coming? Have you gone to their churches, visited their community centers, sat with them in family, read with them their Bibles?

Acts of reconciliation only come served hot upon the platters of compassion. Compassion, which breeds empathy. Just like cynicism has replaced wonder as the fundamental philosophy of our generation; so too entitlement has replaced gratitude. Gratitude, which is only returned through service built upon compassion. We are getting close to thanksgiving – and today is veterans day. Maybe we can all calm down for a minute, and be kind to those with whom we have a shared interest in protecting so great a prosperity as we have known. Now that, my friends, would be an awakening.

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).
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