I am working with a young woman who never ceases to amaze me with her capacity to feel and act compassionately toward others. And I am also struck on how hard this woman is on herself, with standards she would never inflict on others. My hope was that through the compassion she felt for the characters she met in a story, she would find her wellspring of compassion that could also extend to herself.
Together we read a human-interest story, The Afterlife by Ted Gup, about his experience of losing a 21-year-old son to drugs and alcohol. When the young woman and I were done discussing this piece, I was moved by how she was able to see the contrast between the empathy and compassion she felt for this grieving father and the harsh way the father chose to frame a habit he began in response to his grief.
I was glad to see where this young woman’s thinking took her in response to this story. And I myself wanted to say something to Ted Gup, hence my Letter to the Editor of the NYT (7.15.14)
Once again, I am in awe of how stories teach us to ask the questions we need to ask, to be the best people we can be. Read more>>