Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas compassion all year round

This morning at work, I got a glimpse of the ugly side of humanity.

To make the long story short, one of my co-workers has had his mom here with him from Kenya for the past six months. She has been looking after her little grandson while both of his parents work. She was to return to Kenya at the beginning of this month, but became so sick that she was unable to fly home. Her travel insurance expired... and she was diagnosed with colon cancer. On Monday, The Edmonton Journal ran a story about the situation and mentioned some trust funds being established to pay for my friend's mom's surgery. Here's the link:

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/Lapsed+health+policy+spells+trouble+family/4002382/story.html

The ugly side of humanity mentioned earlier arrived in the mail in the form of a letter to The Edmonton Journal, copied to our community leader, in which the sender railed against The Journal and our L'Arche community for bringing attention to a family in dire need. It was a letter full of rancor, sarcasm and vitriol. It's hard to understand why anyone would write such a thing. When I looked at it, all I could see was that the writer is something of a Scrooge who has yet to be converted by the Spirit of Christmas. He obviously doesn't know that people are happier when they live out of compassion rather than judgment and negativity.

Neither the community leader nor I could imagine that any response we made to the letter-writer would satisfy him. He's picking a fight with non-violent people. We shredded the letter. The plan now, more like a New Year's Resolution, is to pray conversion for the man who wrote it, to ask God to lead him to compassion and happiness, and to think compassionate thoughts and "do compassion" myself, all year round.

It's the gentlest way I can think of to counter the ugly side of humanity.

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