An Exercise in Compassion

So if you haven’t heard, I’m working on getting my vintage occult themed Etsy open. I’m giving friends a sneak peek and taking requests for things to keep an eye out for. I’ve already made a sale despite the fact I’m not open. So yea!

And this story starts with this sale.

I went to the post office at the beginning of a snow storm last Monday to mail my first sale. It was exciting for me because dealing antiques and vintage jewelry has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time because fashion is one of my passions. I’ve been close to breaking into fashion and entertainment numerous times but my opportunities always fell through. So this is a fun, simple way way to work in fashion that doesn’t involve cut throat competition and being in front of the camera all the time.

When I got to the Post Office, the line was long but I expected that. It is the post office, after all. There were two clerks and one of them was having a lot of problems with ringing up her customer because her customer’s order was complex. She fumbled with the keys of the computer and shook her head nervously as she tried her best to figure out the solution to the problem at hand.

Meanwhile, everyone in line fidgeted. They shifted their packages from one arm to the other and tapped their boots impatiently.
An obese man behind me huffed and puffed. “Why can’t they do anything right here? *huff* Why do they expect a person in my condition to go through all of this? *huff*”

The crowd started to grumble in agreement.

The man, empowered by the grumbling, began to rant like Donald Trump. “I’m a war vetern! I was in Iraq and I hate that country! I hate the people in it and I’m happy to be home. There’s no place like the United States.”

The hatred caught fire. People in line started saying racist things about people in the Middle East. Little did these people know that my great-grandfather came from Syrian and my great grandmother came from Lebanon. I have no ties to the Middle East except my blood and although I have the features, my skin is pale and my hair is light so people don’t guess my heritage at first. But I haven’t forgotten that my great-grandparents fought to be here. It reminds me every day that the struggle against racism towards Arabs is very real in the United States.

I tried my best to exercise compassion for this negative man but it was challenging because he was insulting my heritage. On top of that, he was trying to manipulate people into acting out with hate because he “has a disability” and is a vetern. I thought about Mary, who is so thankful to be able to take a few steps because she has to use a wheelchair most of the time. And here this man was acting like walking was the worst thing in the world when Mary would do anything to be able to stand in line, even if it was painful.

I took a deep breathe and told myself, “Now you don’t know his story. He could have cancer or some other illness that isn’t visible on the surface.” But to listen to the hate he spewed out of his mouth and how it spread to the already irritated people in the line made me uncomfortable. I wanted to speak up and say something that would get everyone to stop but I didn’t have the words.

The post office employess realized that the big man was trying to stir up trouble. So he was given special treatment and he was taken care of as quickly as possible. But his hatred still lingered. The customers still griped and grumbled as they clutched their packages.

“Why can’t this lady move any faster?”
“What is so hard about her job? Why is this taking so long”

And then, the words I was looking for came to me in the form of compassion. I was suddenly overwhelmed with understanding of the situation the confused post office clerk was going through. I knew that it must feel horrible having all of those people standing in a line criticizing you while you’re trying to do your job as best you can.

I turned around and said to everyone gently, “It seems like she’s having a difficult time understanding something. It seems like she might be new. I’ve been at new jobs and I know I’ve made mistake. I’m trying to exercise a little bit of compassion for her because no one is perfect.” To my surprise, everyone started smiling and nodding in agreement. The negativity lifted and the lady behind me even started a conversation with me after that to pass the time. Everyone quieted down and the post office fell quiet again.

The moral of the story is that It just goes to show how powerful hatred and negativity are. But it also goes to show that there can be peace on earth and it can being with you. We can change the world just by speaking up, even if it is just for someone in our community who may not be being treated fairly. And it kind of goes with an idea that I’ve been thinking about lately.

This falls in line with the themes I’ve encountered in my Qabalah studies lately. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I’ve chosen Qabalah as my path and that my dedication to developing a proper practice is an integral part of my daily life. I’d been looking for a teacher I could trust and by a stroke of luck, I met an older Jewish man in my neighborhood, Chris. He’s offered to tutor me in the Jewish Kabbalah, which is awesome, because I’m really interested in learning more about the practice. He gave me this wonderful book to read called The Thirteen Petalled Rose by Adin Steinsaltz and I’ve been enjoying it throughly.

So let me try to explain this idea as best as I can and relate it to my story.

If we are all part of God, then we create the reality around us because God is the creator and we are all contained in the Divine as one. Therefore, if God is the creator of Heaven and “Hell” then we too, are their creators.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Life is Hell.” That statement can be true, but only if you believe in Hell. Because if we have a choice in what is created then it goes to say that we do, in fact, choose our reality. And the reality we choose is what we make of it.

So if we choose joy, then we also choose compassion. Because joyful people want to share their joy with others and showing compassion to others is a way to alleviate their suffering and help them find the joy that we possess.

And because we are par to of god, then the joy we created spreads and manifests in different ways.

So stop saying you can’t change the world because you can.

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