Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lost it, but the Apple was damn good!

Compassion: sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it
Compassion is something I thought I was good at. Really good at. It was my bag, baby. Feeling compassion and expressing it made me happy, gave meaning to what I did. I thought compassion was a Great and Important Quality.

It's gone. Lost. Situations that normally stir my desire to ease someone's suffering now make me think, "I don't care. How could I possibly feel responsible for easing your pain?" Was it all bullshit, my previous compassionate behavior? Just an act to win people over? Will it come back? I'm not saying I don't feel compassion for the people I love. My previous idea and expression of compassion extended beyond my close friends to people who were relative strangers. I believed that recognizing and easing any person's pain and suffering was a worthy source of meaning in my life. That was how I connected with people. Now? I don't fucking care.

Am I killing my capacity for compassion by doing or not doing certain things in my life? Am I finally realizing that even compassion is only a made up phenomenon that people buy into like a religion in order to bear the world more easily? There is nothing intrinsically great or important about compassion unless I believe there is. Once I lose that belief, compassion becomes another hollow delusion.

Maybe I'm only tired of being compassionate about hearing loss and fitting hearing aids. Maybe once I'm done with this job I'll find my ability to feel compassion again. It's a big deal to me that it seems to have disappeared so easily. I think I hope it comes back, but to be honest I'm not sure I really mean that. I'm supposed to hope it comes back, I guess. I hope it comes back because being compassionate defined a large part of who I was. Being compassionate made me believe I was less alone in the world, that I could help others feel less alone too. It helped me feel connected to people, but it's not working for me anymore. If I lose my compassion permanently, am I losing part of myself? What will take it's place?
February apples are not expected to be crisp, tart, sweet, snappy of flesh and juicy. Mealy, bland, dry flesh with some soluble fiber is what I expect from an apple this time of year. Imagine my surprise when, for an afternoon snack, I crunched into a beautiful organic Braeburn beauty from the Brattleboro Co-op. Tasted like it was plucked from a late September tree just hours ago. Ah...cold storage technology how I love thee.

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