A lady I met through my church group, about 4 years ago, passed away yesterday. She was around my age, married, with 3 children. I didn't know her very well but in the few encounters I had with her, my heart is made light with the memory of the beautiful presence she had. Something I have found inspiring are the number of people who have rallied around her during her journey of healing and, ultimately, passing. The love that was shown to her and her family by those in her community is an amazing sight to see. Seeing people rise to the occasion of someone in need never ceases to fill me with awe. In the greatest of global tragedies, to the intimate passing of an individual, and all losses in between, witnessing people showing great compassion and care is truly beautiful.
[I can't imagine her husband and children's grief, though the knowledge of her passing has been coming for some time. There would be peace in knowing she is now without pain and finally at rest. There is pain where the emptiness of their loss fills them. I pray the holy spirit fills that void with the love they all share for her and each other.]
I feel we all have a purpose here on earth. Some of us take care of our business, our purpose, before we even leave the womb. Some of us take 90+ years to achieve our purpose here on earth. In the time between, I believe it is the purpose of our being to leave a mark on this world and, for better or worse, consciously or subconsciously, we all will leave an impression behind. Some may give this little thought. Some may spend years toiling over how to leave their legacy on the world.
There is much darkness in the world as well as those that work in darkness. They may be mentally ill with no intervention, insane from a life of living in darkness, a sad being with no hope or sense of worth. And from their darkness more darkness can be created through violent acts. But seeing the human compassion, the indelible light of the human spirit in times of tragedy, that is the hope and spirit that fills the world. There will always be tragedy - whether it be human or nature made, matters little. It is how we respond to those incidences that shows the power of compassion in this world.
I wonder, if we showed more compassion to those who live in darkness, before they unleashed their fury that comes from living in darkness, would it even occur? I see anger, negativity, violent behavior as a disease. If someone is in the hospital with a disease, we bring them flowers, balloons, stuffed animals, cards, provide food for their families; show love and kindness. But if someone is angry, "rude", negative, depressing to be around, etc, we tend to react with anger and negativity. Their disease becomes a need for ablation; something to avoid because, why? We may become negative too? Because it's exhausting? I would agree that is a possibility if you see it as a burden. Like all diseases, there are infectious ones, and if we don't have a good immune system, we too will lie victim to the disease. I have been building my immune system for some time now. I know if I get near a negative person, their disease won't effect me. Simply because I recognize it's not my disease. My defence? Compassion. Just the same as a person with a tangible disease who is in pain, suffering, or even dying. I hear a lot of "buts" coming, but there are no "buts". It is a point of view and a perspective where there is only one set of rules for all humans. We are conditioned to respond to a threat with flight or fight. We can also condition ourselves to respond in a way of compassion. I have seen it time and time again.
Is someone a danger to themselves and/or others? Then, no; flowers and balloons are probably not the best answer. That's when real intervention - removal from general population - need occur. But most people just want to know they matter and make a difference. And maybe that old, nasty, curmudgeon of a sot in your life's purpose is to give you the opportunity to rise to be a better person and to exercise that compassion you reserve for those who "deserve" it. Their disease need not be your disease.
So, leaving a legacy. Lately, I have given considerable thought to the legacy I want to leave. For my family, my friends, and even the souls that briefly pass in and out of my life. Being a positive presence is something I feel is my purpose. Looking back on my life, I think it's been part of me all along. Not always evident (I did and still can have a terrible temper!) but it's something that seems to be a thread that has been woven consistently throughout the tapestry of my life so far. A positive perspective, it's not always welcomed, and that's cool. It's not my job to change others. It's my job to work on my self and be an example of what is possible. And, some days, some times, the clouds roll in and it is I who needs that positive force in my life, to help bring me back toward the light.
In the mean time, I will continue to be awed by the compassion in the world, work on what it means to be compassionate for ALL my fellow human beings, and take solace in the idea that each and every one of us has purpose in this life.