When tragedy strikes, compassion calls

Sometimes it’s so hard to come to terms with how hard life can be for some people. Often, it scares us how quickly someone’s world shatters into pieces. It’s as if there is a very thin line between a happy life and chaos and heart-brokenness.

As a psychologist, I have met many broken people. Most of them have experienced a life crisis that eventually robbed them of their mental health. They all have a story to tell. It has always been a privilege to listen with compassion but sometimes, I wonder how life can be so cruel. Why do good people suffer so much? Indeed, I have met many people who have experienced double and treble blows -people who were getting their lives back together only to be flattened by tragedy again.

A few days ago I attended a very sad funeral. Our very humanity means that we have to be affected when we encounter a fellow human being in crisis. It upset me for days and I am not in any way close to him or his family. I posed the questions why and how over and over again.

But we will never have answers to these type of questions. Our only response can be one of love and compassion. We have to reach out to people who are suffering. We have to be there for them. We have to check-in and see how they are doing. We have to offer solidarity and support.

Support groups are a crucial facility within our communities. Thank heavens we have big-hearted people willing to volunteer their time and energy to helping others through these groups. Often they act as a lifeline to people who are in turmoil.

If latest research confirms that practising compassion is linked to better mental and physical health then that is just another reason why we need to consider giving something back – making a positive contribution to life while we are here.. It will also help take the focus from our own problems and put them into the context of the many other people who have much greater problems. Indeed, we might end up counting our blessings more!

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