the mudpond

It's good to let things breathe in your imagination because often your initial response to it is not the best thought-through response. I savour little glimpses of life. Mine and those of people who turn me sideways and around. Friend or stranger. Even a child. (the world looks different from down there) Sometimes an author, photographer, artist. I let things saturate and incubate here. Hopefully, deeper meanings can percolate up and flower.

Name:
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A stray cat.

6/26/2005

Compassion's Disabling Companion

COMPASSION:
Literally, suffering with another; a sensation of sorrow excited by the distress or misfortunes of another; pity; commiseration. "Womanly ingenuity set to work by womanly compassion." Macaulay.

Must Compassion always be accompanied and disabled by her undesired and undesirable
companion? Can she ever be free to restore human dignity and worth - all by herself?

One person exemplifies this virtue and ethic. The Saint of Gutters and international symbol for devotion to the poor, destitute and dying. She won the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize for bringing hope and dignity to millions of society’s rejects. She dedicated nearly 50 years of her life to them.

Nearly fifty years. Nearly half a century. A lifetime for some of us. And many lifetimes for some of her beneficiaries. She restored their human dignity and worth, not by the subtleties of nice words, but by hard toiling work and tender compassion:

"Mother, so long I have lived as an animal,
now I am dying as an angel."

Okay, so maybe we can't all be saints. Let's just be our normal honest selves then, shall we?

A Sunday Reflection: A Poem to Sit With

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5 Comments:

Blogger Lucia Lai said...

mother teresa was the person i admire most in the whole wide world. yes i remember her words always about letting the poor die in dignity.

the story goes that there was this old man who on the street who was so dirty and smelly and full of sores and all that. and he was dying... matter of hours. mother teresa brought him home, clean him up. one of his young nun asked mother teresa why all the trouble when he is going to die soon but mother teresa replied, that he had lived like an animal, and now he must die like an angel.

i have an autobiography book of mother teresa. mother teresa has lots of poems and wise saying. speaking of which, i once wrote a poem about mother teresa. i used the song 'my way' by frank sinatra to change the words. you can read the poem here, tittled God's Way
(it was published in the star paper)

and i had written a short article about mother teresa too here.

2:46 PM  
Blogger thquah said...

Sometimes it's not the pity that struck us.(utter a word or two) Is the caring from the heart that we would like to be a friend that cares.

7:47 PM  
Blogger percolator said...

th,
I understand what you are trying to say. I believe when you say it, it really comes from your heart. You believe in compassion as virtue, and probably practice it in your own way - give to beggars, donate to charity.. etc. But compassion is also an ETHIC that the physical presence, images and perceptions can awaken (or undermine). Most of us experience it as an emotion, which compassion also is. But it is an unstable emotion that needs to be translated into action or it withers into pity.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Calentropus said...

Is Pity all that bad ? Perhaps it is an innate human emotion that one cannot get away from.

Which came first, pity or compassion ? Would we have an compassion for anyone in need, etc., if we were not able to feel pity for him or her or them ?

11:19 PM  
Blogger percolator said...

calen,
Actually, no. Pity isn't entirely bad. It keeps some, well, a lot of people going. Seriously. Imagine there were no pity, there'd be a lot of people dying like flies or diving off skyscrapers. And the pitiful will multiply and outnumber the fortunate. Imagine the repercussions.

It's truly bad if people use pity to ennoble or feel good about themselves. Remember the Tsunami disaster, Pity and all those mock cheques presentations?

8:20 AM  

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