17 June 2020

It Ain’t Easy ..... ..... 

I learned a lesson about compassion, several months ago. It persists with me. I think it worth sharing, especially in the present times.

One evening, I was talking with Marcus who lives around the corner. Although approaching retirement age, he was mining sandstone and doing odd jobs for a living. When not working, Marcus seems to have frequent run-ins with the law.

Then enjoying a beer in front of his little rental house, Marcus was telling some of his stories. Marcus enjoys his beers, even though they add much to his problems. My toothless friend bewailed his lot in life as a thought took hold of me. I had to say, “It ain’t easy being human.”

Marcus readily agreed as he had lost his mother recently and seen both of his sons put into prison. I listened on while Marcus did most of the talking, until I went home around the corner.

Then, I pondered on the idea that, “It ain’t easy being human.” I ended up comparing him and myself and all of us to Jesus Christ as the latter came to memory from a time with another old friend.

Years ago, Gary took me to see Mel Gibson’s film called The Passion of Christ. Early in the viewing, I wanted to leave the theater while my friend thought Gibson’s sadistic tale wonderful. Gary seemed enthralled watching Jesus spit upon, pummeled repeatedly, dragged to Calvary and hung on his Cross.

But then and later, I decided that “Jesus had it easy.” He only had 33 years to pass in physical life. He had perfect body, clear mind, no emotional attachments, no wife of children, no job. He had just a few days of outer pain to endure.

He suffered for less than 3 days, while the rest of us do so for decades. Some of us, much more than others. But, we all seem to carry crosses of one kind or another.

We are all “slugging it out” in sad, inept ways even while many can’t get over the death of Jesus on the Cross. He had his three-day trauma, while we struggle for thousands of days knowing little of who we are and where we are heading. 

Jesus knew who he was and where he was going. He knew he was a Child of God, saw the future, read minds, walked on water, built himself a new body in those 3 days. Jesus was well prepared for any event which would present itself. It was like he read the owner’s manual and knew it by heart. Where is that manual?

“It ain’t easy being human.” We, John and Jane Does, carry our crosses for a lifetime, most often with very little awareness. We all should be able to relate to that idea from our own little experiences among those of 8 billion other humans, coming and going. All of us experience pain, loss and injury, distress and disease time and again. Not just for days, but sometimes for months or years. Some of us carry disabilities for our whole lives.

We learn all too often by trial and error, while there is no hint of trial and error in the life of Jesus. We don’t read minds, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We generally don’t have emotional poise, presence of mind, pureness of heart and indomitable spirit. Our strength flitters with the wind.

So, I want to say that my human brothers and sisters, however selfish and venal they may appear, are worthy of compassion, respect, honor and love. For the most part, I believe that we are in fact doing the best we can considering our lots in life. We seem to act out some hidden, built-in script and hope for the best.

Not that we can’t do better. But, we get used to being as we have been. Rising to a higher level of function may be lifetimes away. We change, mature, transform ever so slowly.

One step to awakening may be just to identify ourselves with the woeful and ignorant, botched and bumbling humanity all around us, even while Divinity lives within and above us all.

Forgive us for our humanity, for we know not what we do.
May compassion grow into goodness in and around us all.

Comments always welcome at theportableschool at gmail dot com.

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