on friendship and compassion

We are flooded again, so all of us stayed home in the morning to deal with our little-pump-that-could which was cranking at 1,200 gallons/hour to no perceivable results. No one has been electrocuted for the moment, and all have yet to contract some horrible water-borne illness. In between humble residential engineering/plumbing we kept an eye on the local weather, and the TV channel was broadcasting  the Interfaith Memorial Service in honor of the victim of the Boston Marathon bombing. I don’t usually watch speeches, but rain makes me melancholy and having all of the roommates in the same place encourages camaraderie. The President mentioned something I have been thinking about for a while, that unquenchable thing that is the human spirit, tenacious and unafraid when nourished by the compassion of other humans.

I have a friend who I have known since I arrived in the States and she’s the main one responsible for beating most of my early English into my overwhelmed noggin’. In many ways we are opposites, in timeliness and scrupulousness and time management. We also get on each other’s nerve a lot especially when we do organized things together because we organize very differently. But when I am with her I don’t really pay attention to my race, or statute, or outer appearance, since she is one of those rare people I can be around and feel completely at ease with. We also talk to each other in themes and variations of meows. Because of work we haven’t been demographically close for the last five or six years, so we can’t always be physically there for each other. But we call and text and chat and sit up until 3am trying to bake out some of the ideas in our heads, why we feel the way we feel, and how to deal with life and its curve-balls. As we grow up and travel to new places and interact with different people, I have become more aware of how we care about each other more than we recognize, and we are brought to this knowledge when we are in the receiving end of kindness and grace, when we are the ones in need.

I used to think internet friendships aren’t real, and blogs and webpages are euphemisms for egocentricity. But people I have met through these “impersonal” means have proven my perspective wrong. I still believe in-person interactions are irreplaceable, but internet friendships sometimes have shown me more support than I could have imagined. Similar phenomena are taking place in Boston, in West, Texas, took place in New Orleans after the hurricanes, and in Japan after the earthquake. And with social media we are made aware of each other’s needs, and that draws forth our recognition of our abilities to meet those needs. And we support each other’s frail but resilient spirits. And that’s far from egocentricity.

I hope those of you who read this don’t have anyone you know personally who’s injured in the Boston bombing or the Texas plant explosion. Even though I can’t be there for the you, who may be affected, please know that you are cared about. And for those of you who are contributing to the healing process in Boston, thank you, for your compassion and love. Thank you for making being human worthwhile.


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