Letter to the Editor: Give ‘enough that it hurts a little’

Posted 12/14/20

Give enough that it hurts a little It’s been a painful year. It’s going to be a painful year to come. How will we be able to give to the poor and homeless in this season of giving at a time when …

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Letter to the Editor: Give ‘enough that it hurts a little’

Posted

Give enough that it hurts a little

It’s been a painful year. It’s going to be a painful year to come. How will we be able to give to the poor and homeless in this season of giving at a time when the depth and breadth of our personal pains find us limited and suffering loss ourselves?

The answer is we will have to give painfully, with a more committed sort of compassion than we usually do. We’re used to compassion in our hearts. It’s innate for many of us. This year, we’ll need more than that feeling. We’ll need sympathy and empathy and compassion that is a fact, and acts. That’s harder. How do we do it?

Sympathy is easy. It sees the struggle. Empathy takes another step and says, “I’m not just listening and seeing your struggle, I’ve felt it. ” Empathy is when compassion says, “I want to help.” That’s always good, and usually enough to motivate us.

This year, this season, it might take more than empathy. It might take compassion as a fact. It’s the step beyond empathy. Compassion as a Fact says, “I will help.” Compassion as a fact says, “There needs always to be a place where, when anyone has to go there, no one will be turned away.”

It is a hard time. Give to the poor and homeless anyway. How much? Enough that it hurts a little.

Wayne Sheldrake, South Fork

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