I have been looking for a job for several months and the truth of it is, it is a pretty ego-bashing endeavor no matter how much humility one possesses. And I would say I have a fair amount.
The other day, as I was filling out a questionnaire for one of my job applications, one of the questions which appeared was “What do you consider to be your greatest weakness?” I took a deep breath and I knew immediately. “My compassion.”
I figured out a way to answer the question succinctly and poetically, and I felt okay with my answer because it is the truth. But quite honestly, my fierce truth-telling may also be a deterrent in successfully landing a job as well.
Compassion. I am far too compassionate and although this may be a good thing, it also has the capacity to take me out. I feel and absorb the pain of others far too deeply and I suffer as a result. It has been this way for me ever since I was a very young child.
I have told this story before, but when I was six years-old, I saw an animated Christmas special about an orphaned girl named Roseanne and she began to sing a song with lyrics including “I’m all alone in the world.” And at that tender age I began to cry. But it was a cry I had not experienced before and I was utterly inconsolable. I was bereft about this little child who was just like me but had no one to turn to.
Looking back, 38 years later, I understand that I was crying for myself but did not have the capacity to put words to these feelings. Every time I feel “too much compassion,” there is a part of myself that is identifying with the circumstances which come to life inside of me and feels the pain of the truth I see before my eyes. The pain of tragedy, of death, of loss which takes so many forms.
Recently, two acquaintances of mine told me that they became an “US.” And this was one of the first moments in a while where I could truly feel myself again. I found myself joyful and buoyant and smiling every time I thought of them. I found myself blessing their union every chance I could. I found myself tickled with happiness even as my own union was experiencing pain and rupture. I found myself feeling nothing but love, which is so beautiful because I truly believe that love is generous. And so this news was affording me my own experience of myself, and for that, and for them, I am deeply, irrevocably grateful. Not to mention this is an utterly “genius” union.
It is poignant to mention this now because as this cycle around the sun comes to a close, many of us are experiencing a knock-down-drag-out fight with the world. Those of us who survived the Hurricane, did so with pride and dignity and community. Those of us who survived Newtown, did so with few words but prayers which were heard around the world. But many of us are exhausted from this year for reasons which are our own and unique to each of us, but which cut so close to bone.
What I see with myself is that as I look around my home, I could give it all up. I am so grateful for my beautiful dog who entrains so deeply with me and I am so grateful for the love that I feel in my heart for all whom I have placed there and I hold there with nothing but tenderness and exquisite care.
Of course, I need to find a way to pay the bills and that seems to be a tremendous pressing cloud of fear and terror right now, but when all is said and done, all that matters to me is that those I love know it and feel it and understand where it germinates from. I could keep giving away my possessions and it wouldn’t count for anything. They could be taken from me, and it wouldn’t count for anything. If my heart isn’t beating, listening, loving, honoring and bowing, then I have gone very far away from the source from which I came.
I hope that this next trip around the sun will be beautiful and inspiring for us all. I hope it will be filled with truth and hope and trust and forgiveness and a powerful love that we can draw faith from.
I hope this for us all.
And I won’t give up hoping.
A blessed, safe, healthy new year filled with love for all.