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From Where I Stand: Finding compassion in a troubled world

Compassion seems to be in very short supply. It’s one thing the world needs more of.
Wes writes the Where I Stand column for the Assiniboia Times

ASSINIBOIA - A few years ago, Francisco Venegas, a simple school custodian in Colorado, was taking a well-deserved break from his job out in the schoolyard during recess.

He often took his breaks outside during this time because he dearly loved watching the children play and interact with each other. It gave him a tiny bit of pleasure and joy in the midst of the tedium and daily drudgery of his job.

One day during recess, he observed a tiny nine-year-old-girl fall off a bench that she was standing on. She did not slip, nor was she pushed. She simply fell, for no apparent good reason. Francisco quickly rushed over to make sure she was not seriously injured. He helped her up off the ground, and watched her resume play with her young friends.

A few weeks later, Francisco again noticed this same young girl on the playground. She suddenly stopped playing for a moment and displayed a strange, twisted facial expression, as if in pain. Again, Francisco rushed over to see if his young friend was alright.

Sensing that something was amiss, he reported the two incidents to the school’s health nurse and principal. A few days later, the young girl suffered a seizure and was rushed to hospital. The information that Francisco was able to provide prompted doctors to perform an immediate brain scan. Results of this scan revealed a brain tumour in its early stages. Emergency surgery was performed, and a successful recovery followed - a happy ending to a troubling and potentially serious situation. Francisco was publicly recognized and honoured as a modern day good Samaritan and rightly so. He was totally worthy of the recognition he received.

I would dearly love to believe that most of us today would have behaved exactly as Mr. Venegas did but this is not a given. Especially in this terribly troubling day and age we find ourselves trapped in. Narcissism, cruelty and selfishness seem to run rampant and unchecked in our society. One does not have to be a rocket scientist or mental giant to recognize this. Murder, rape, terrorism, human trafficking, torture and abuse are commonplace in our world today. Compassion seems to be in very short supply. It’s not something that can be legislated - too bad, because it’s one thing the world needs more of.

I may be simple, but I don’t believe that kindness and compassion necessarily need to be grandiose, spectacular or profound in nature. They just need to simply exist in greater numbers. We need more good news stories in the midst of our crazy, mixed-up and dark world. We need more sunshine, so to speak, in the midst of the prevailing darkness. Doom and gloom only add to our current despair. Heaven knows, we don’t need any more of that!

Who knows what this world would be like if we honoured, revered, and celebrated good instead of evil, light instead of darkness, right instead of wrong, and love instead of hate. One thing is abundantly clear, if this is to BE ... it’s up to THEE and ME. That’s the way I see it, at least. From where I stand.