From the Editor: What does compassion mean to you?

It’s been a difficult week.

The election has come and gone and folks are still struggling with the results.

There’s a powerful quote that is attributed to several historical figures: Plato, Socrates and Philo. There seems to be no concrete evidence behind who said the following:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Whether your struggling to accept our new elected officials or struggling to understand those who can’t get on board with the ideas… everyone is struggling with something.

Saturday, my husband showed me an image on Facebook promoting a deal at a local tattoo shop: $20 for any small, positive word written in cursive until the protests end.

He said I could leave as soon as he came home from work. I was out the door quicker than you could say all three kids dropped their yogurt, here’s a towel.

My struggle for the day? No school for two days. They were cooped up, despite having played outside for hours, and they all wanted to be entecompassionrtained by me and only me. Well, I can’t be three people at once unfortunately.

I left the house for some “mommy time” and to do a little work. I thought long and hard about what one word I could live with for the rest of my life.

It didn’t take long to come up with two: Courage and Compassion.

Compassion won.

It’s a word I take to heart because we don’t know the battles of others. We will never know exactly what others are going through because we are not them. We may have been through similar struggles, but never the same. It’s hard for people to understand that thought.

Compassion is what our world needs right now. It promotes unity and community; it fosters unconditional love and understanding.

Ultimately, compassion means: “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others,” according to Oxford dictionaries. It’s a stepping stone to empathy which is ones “ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”

What would our world be like right now if we stepped back to be sympathetic to the cries of our community members, compassionate to their struggles and empathetic of their whole selves?

Imagine what our holiday tables will look like this year without compassion?

I can tell you my immediate family stands on one side of the proverbial fence while the other half of the table stands on the other side.

Without compassion and empathy, someone will surely end up with mashed potatoes in their hair and it wouldn’t just be the children.

It is possible for our world to love. We’ve seen it after every tragedy. But, we have to bring both sides to the table and spread the love (and the butter).

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

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