"Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too."
Yesterday evening, author Tricia Goyer posted a link to a friend's blog in which the owner, Dawn Meehan, has found her entire world turned upside down. Despite it, she has taken the ugly things that life has given her and turned them around, finding something to laugh/rejoice about in all of it. In the process, Dawn developed a large following--becoming one of them most read blogs on the internet. Yet, when she found herself completely overwhelmed by life's mounting troubles, her blog designer hijacked her site and asked her fans, friends, and readers if they could help. Today, Dawn Meehan's blog was featured here in the New York Times, where readers either wished Dawn well, or ripped her apart, labeling her little more than a failure. What do people think about? Has the anonymity of the internet really turned so many of us into raging monsters that would sooner kill with hastily written words, rather than reveal even the tiniest glimpse of compassion?
I suppose it is a rather new development that everyday people suffer drastic changes and conflicts in their lives, and that some of those people might be writers who decide to put it out there for the world to see. Not all of those people simply want sympathy and accolades. Some people sit down at their computer and open a vein, letting the pain, anguish, joy, and mercy from every aspect of their lives, flow through their fingertips. They, like Dawn, search their heart for a way to spin their pain in such a way, that it might bring encouragement and hope to a woman in a similar situation....
And that was fine, until her friend asked people to help her. Once that happened, the meanness in others came out. There are countless people all over the world in trouble and suffering, they say, why help this one? What makes her so much different? Why didn't she take precautions to prevent this from happening/save her when it did happen? She should have gotten an education, or stayed in the workplace rather than choose to be a stay at home mom.
Foolishness! All of it!
Do you want to know why I think people respond this way? Because it makes it easier to turn around and look away. It makes it easy to go on living your life without concern for those around you. If you don't see someone in need, or write it off as their own fault/problem, then you're off the hook. And it isn't just the blogging world--virtual strangers--that people treat this way. We treat our neighbors this way, or the people that sit in church with us, our children's classmates, our co-workers...
How very sad.
Blogging has become more than just a way to promote one's work, network, socialize, advertise, and stay in touch with family. Blogging has become a way to peer into the human condition, see how we cope, and see how we will respond to each others' plight.
As a writer and blogger, I hope that the sorrows I face, and how I handle them, will be a way to glorify my Lord--that His face might shine through the darkness. Just because I believe in His love, does not mean I am sheltered from pain. Life will still happen--with all its pain and joy. How I deal with it will be my token for good. Not only that, but I pray my heart will be tender to those like me, and those that are not like me. I want to love others, tend to their needs, and learn to love my enemies. It is a desire that will be hard to meet, but I'm determined.
Try to be compassionate to those in your lives, and even more compassionate to the stranger on the street--or the blogger lost in cyberspace. Choose your words wisely, for the taste of them will linger a lifetime in your mouth.