“DO NOT CLOSE YOUR EYES BEFORE SUFFERING—FIND WAYS TO BE WITH THOSE WHO ARE SUFFERING BY ALL MEANS, INCLUDING PERSONAL CONTACTS AND VISITS, IMAGES, AND SOUNDS. BY SUCH MEANS, AWAKEN YOURSELF AND OTHERS TO THE REALITY OF SUFFERING IN THE WORLD.” —Gautama Buddha, found in Sweeping Zen
This weekend is all about suffering and conversely, redemption. We all can remember the sadness and the tragedy of that day and for a long time afterward, we were reminded daily of the sacrifices that occurred that day. That suffering, however, brought our nation together and made us stronger – for a while. Before long we were back to where we are today. We are experiencing the longest war our country has ever engaged in, economic ruin for many, unbelievable greed exemplified by the financial leaders, and bitter partisanship.
When I read the ranting of people who "got theirs" and think the unemployed should just suck it up, it makes me want to puke. When I see a homeless family on the street, yet we have people demanding cuts to social programs that might feed them, I wonder where our compassion is. And when a thug gets out of jail and gets millions of dollars to go back to playing a game, yet there are chronically underemployed all around us, it makes me wonder where our priorities lie.
We continue to shovel money to these CEOs, we continue to send money to nations who hate us, and yet we can't fund vital education programs, fix our roads, or pay for the health of people who sacrificed themselves to bring their brothers home. And the military, who are fighting these wars, away from their families for so long, are paying a tremendous sacrifice only to be making wages that qualify them for food stamps, and they can't find a job when they get back – if they get back- because there are no jobs to be found.
And I haven't even left the United States. There is plenty of suffering world-wide to go around as well. Open your eyes to the suffering and help those who need it most. I struggle with those who preach compassion yet fail to offer any when people need it most. While we are suffering, remember there are others who are suffering much worse. Let's work together to create positive change.