Tuesday, August 23, 2005

On Compassion

An armed carjacking took place on the street where I once lived. By providence, the driver ran from the car, taking a bullet in the hand and the leg, ran down the street and ended up in front of our house. The doorbell rang, then we heard pounding and shouting, "I've been shot! Call the police!" It was a dark evening, 11pm, both the porch light and the street light were out. We kept the door closed and talked to him through the double-paned glass window while calling 911. A few minutes later - after much of his shouting to call for help, his fears of the carjackers coming after him, the thieves driving past us on their motorcycles - the police arrived. We opened the door but could not see much. After replacing the light bulb overhead, the magnitude of the event was displayed clearly - an uneven pool of blood draining from the porch and stairs - the man's hand wrapped in a sweatshirt.

Do you ever wonder how you might react in such a situation? I help people to see themselves clearly, to take in their whole lives, their purpose, and to live in alignment with the world as they see it. What surprised me about this incident is the first reaction I felt upon seeing all of the blood - not horror, disgust, blaming, terror, or anger. It was a deep, genuine sadness; a pain about the intention of those willing to harm or kill another person for a living. Upset about organized crime that recruits those who think they have no prospects for the future otherwise, that hires young people to staff their criminal operations. This is how he pays for gas and rent, like anyone just going to a job.

Sometimes I have the urge to do something self-destructive; I was that way for many years. Because of grace and spirit, I am able to maintain a sense of calm and stay away from the shadow side, on the whole. Sometimes I want to say to people who are acting out, who are oppressed, you are already more powerful than your dreams, you are stronger than you realize, you are already who you are meant to be if you have the courage to face yourself and be calm. When you can be still within yourself, things begin to happen that are beyond your greatest expectations.
Perhaps, this man meant to come to our door that one night to find something that he also needed, something he didn't realize that he had.

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