Is Compassion a Gift?
“Put your money where your mouth is.” This is exactly what my friend Tafadzwa (not her real name) has been doing. She has spent the last few years purposely mentoring young women who may be considered social outcasts. She has tirelessly tried to tackle poverty by empowering eager entrepreneurs. From Monday to Sunday she has engaged various communities sharing a hopeful gospel.
Out of the many conversations I had with various people about random things this weekend, my brief reunion with Tafadzwa has lingered in my mind. You see, I have been busy trying to understand insignificant things like why I am still going through reverse culture shock, and have been busy focusing inward. I have even wasted a few days licking my so called wounds and thinking about my jobless state. This has made me move away from my desire to immediately serve in one way or another and spend less precious time talking about all the things I need to do instead of actually doing them. For this reason, talking to my friend was a long overdue wake up call. I can and should help someone even if it means stepping out of my comfort zone and forgetting myself for a while.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to all of Tafadzwa’s endeavors because in many ways we share the same vision. We both want to empower women all over the world. We both feel incredible compassion for the homeless and those with huge psychological illnesses. She and I both understand that true inner peace can be brought about by patient discipleship. During our discussions, I told her how refreshing it was to talk to someone who wants to help people since many people in my circle seem not to care. This is when she mentioned that compassion is a gift and not everyone has it, therefore not everyone gets it. In other words, the ability to have empathy which leads to positive action is innately tied to one’s character.
Interesting! I started to wonder; if compassion is indeed an innate (only found in certain members of society) why do some of us fret over people who do not care. If that is the case is it a waste of time to educate privileged people about how they can help the underprivileged in any society in the world? Surely there is no good in trying to foster something that is natural for others and absent for some. I am not yet sure what the answer is. Education has made me want to help more people in the world. However, knowing that compassion is a gift is helping me become more patient with passive friends and family.