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HONORING MY MOTHER | If and when

I THOUGHT  I could understand why the raging storm encasing the world in its bed still remains unchecked. But, as what has also often been the case with other issues, the provided answers are often too-laced with people’s pride, with perceived affronts at their gender for some, endless freedom-throwing sound bites, politics from all angles, personal liberties and good old religion. It seems the search for just-plain truth has become old fashioned or just got lost somewhere. Perhaps, this understanding I seek might eventually come when we have all been laid flat as the earth. Who knows, the fire might still be raging by then.

I once saw an old photo of my mom, smiling at the camera, and my immediate thought was, I wish I had your hand and resolve in the midst of this storm where we are now chained and bound. The virus may rage like a river for now but once it’s done, I know your smile would have always stayed as warm and as steady as your hand.

One time I looked up the word empathy, not because I did not know what it meant, but rather because I wanted to see its breath and scope. Surprised to discover that only the first kind of empathy lives with most people, the cognitive kind. That one that is almost like the “I-feel-you” lingo that’s common among the young but it doesn’t really reach out.

Not that this is their fault. For all we know, circumstances (layers of it), starting with family, beliefs, influences and society as a whole, all create the stew from which a person’s learnings about empathy spring. However, what this fast food society has done, is to make us have less time to really connect with people (not only in the Facebook way). This imagined societal pace may have been described as the rat race in the past, but even now, the label still has a ring of truth to it.

It takes a conscious amount of effort to be really empathetic because of the added-essence of compassion in the mix. This is the only form of empathy needed, but requires that we become intuitive too, and that is difficult with some. People still openly defy quarantine regulations that we still do social distancing and limit outdoor activities, and many come home without incident. 

Yet for those who have contracted the virus while indulging in these activities, there’s nary a squeak, except in some covid-19 statistics that show a spike. In this case, to have compassionate empathy is to realize that there exists a real probability that any of your actions can rebound on the people you love at home. For those who might have become desensitized to all these, I know it’s so yesterday. Until it happens to you.

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