Compassion

Compassion by Miller Williams

Have compassion for everyone you meet,
even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit,
bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign
of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on
down there where the spirit meets the bone.

From The Ways We Touch: Poems. Copyright 1997 by Miller Williams.

I came across this poem a couple of months back when dealing with some people in the office who were particularly abrasive towards me.  Mostly in the sense of “I’m hurting a lot here about things not related to what I’m taking it out on you, but you’re here at the moment so you get all my angry shit.”

I know I shouldn’t have to put up with bullshit.  But I also understand that there are some times when you just have to shut your mouth and take it, and take it gracefully.  Never mind that you’re in a similar scary place.  Complain to a trusted friend about how much it sucks, but smile and show the person love and respect next time you see them.  Despite the fact that it really fucking hurts at the moment.

Because the stuff that they’re saying to you is stuff that you don’t take personally.  It’s not you.  It’s not even them.  It’s a reaction to the pain they’re feeling on such a deep level that they don’t know realize that what they’re saying sucks.

There will be remorse expressed later, and apologies.  But there’s trust as well, and years of friendship.  And a return of compassion when I’m in such a place as well.  And I would rather they say these things to me than to their superiors and end up fired.

i carry your heart

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

~e. e. cummings