There has been an outpouring of tremendous world-wide empathy showered on France since the terrorist attack on Paris. On this sentiment it seems all people agree. Beyond that, we fall into a chasm of differences. Over where we should place our attention. Over borders and refugees and immigration and political policy. Over ideology and religion. There are hundreds upon hundreds of blogs stirring up hate, defining us separate from them, each new headline fueling the fire of terror. But none of those charged issues are my concern in this post. I just want to reflect on a more humane reaction. A reaction that elicits compassion. “Empathy is a gateway to compassion. It’s understanding how someone feels, and trying to imagine how that might feel for you — it’s a mode of relating. Compassion takes it further. It’s feeling what that person is feeling, holding it, accepting it, and taking some kind of action” (Chandler).
Last Saturday, after a leisurely morning allowed for a colossal cup of tea along side a well-plated brunch, with a phone call first from my mother and then my daughter, I took to town with a list of errands. Today was the day to do what I never get to, like swinging by the jeweler’s to have my diamond cleaned and inspected, or sifting through the writer magazines at Barnes & Nobles to make notes on upcoming contests and submission deadlines. You know the kinds of things you do when life seems to be riding a straight line. But driving between Healthy Living and the next on my list I had a NPR moment… when your errands are put on hold or cancelled all together because you are captive in your car, essentially trapped by story.
This is a story of love, yes, a love story, and one I believe deserves telling.