I was watching an interview with Stephen Colbert and writer George Saunders last week and the term “radical tenderness” was used to explain how compassion and understanding can be applied, even to those we strongly oppose. Is this possible?
I try to be compassionate and to write and share compassion, but my struggle is just as real, even as I write through my feelings.
I recently wrote about compassion, the other day was Pink Shirt Day, and bullying is real and damaging. I think name calling is unnecessary and immature, but we all do it. I struggle with the fact that I say name calling is wrong, and then I go and call someone something. The new U.S. leader is offensive to my every fibre. I don’t consider this name calling, but more like I’m simply speaking my truth. Whereas, I have vowed not to use his name on my blog, so I now call him 45 and that’s not so bad. It’s when I slip and swear under my breath at something he’s done that has made the news, because of course he has all that power now, power to command all that attention he craves. When I call him a foolish old man, then am I crossing the line into name calling? Is that compassion? Can I tap into my stores of radical tenderness?
This compassion thing isn’t easy. It’s the two year anniversary of
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion
this week and I am still sad how the original steam of the movement started here has declined so rapidly.
There is ugliness going on in the world right now, truly, but there is also immense beauty and wonder.
All that ugliness could be part of the reason so many don’t know what else to say about a topic like compassion, I get that, but I can’t stop speaking out about it. I can’t.
The children in our lives deserve the best world we can give them (and so I dedicate my two year anniversary post on compassion to my niece, Mya Lynne, and to all the children, constantly teaching me that compassion is worth it):
I look down into your face, your beautiful face, and I see only a blur wrapped in a blanket. There’s no getting around that. I wish I could see you, but you are real, really here. I hold you tight. You restore my faith, now that you’re with us, and I find new stores of compassion in me.
You are beauty and sweetness and all that is good and right with this world.