Compassion is Easily Learned

November 21, 2009
By , East Hanover, NJ
Tears run down my cheeks and wash away with the rain that trickles down my face. The air is hot and sticky, but the rain falls steadily. As I trudge barefoot across the beach, the sand feels crisp on my feet. Gazing ahead at the lake’s rippled body, I step on something pointy. I inspect the ground and find a piece of tarnished metal that is the cause of my bewilderment. It is a cross. But its lustrous appearance has faded due to, what looks like, years of neglect. I grasp the cross with my trembling hands and hold it tight to my chest. I understand the lesson, and realize the meaning.

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The door slammed behind my father as he lumbered through the house after coming in from the rain. He was drenched with water that had seeped through his oversized sweatshirt. Everywhere he walked, the squeaking of his shoes followed. From the couch, I stared up at him as he walked through our bantam lake house almost unconsciously. The atmosphere in the house went from calm and relaxed to a burdensome feeling of anxiety. As he dragged his feet across the rug, his face looked aged. The wrinkles in his forehead were beginning to crease and his hairline was receding. When he stopped in front of me, my head quickly averted his glare. Picking up the remote and changing the channel, I attempted to avoid a disagreement.

“What’s for dinner?” he seemed to yell into my ear, as if I was hard of hearing.
I lifted my head to face him and saw the pigment of his face fading.

“I’m not sure, but I think you should check your blood.” I recommended, “You’re looking a little pale, and Mom won’t be happy if she comes home and your blood sugar is low. You know how much she hates it when you don’t keep it under control.”
At that moment, he lost his footing and stumbled to the floor. It was as if, at that instance, the couch took hold of me. I couldn’t move from its corner cushion. I watched my father struggle to keep control of his body. I became nauseous at the sight of the situation. My palms began to sweat as I looked at the fear trapped in his eyes. The shock froze my limbs and I could not command my body to take charge. I need to gain control! “Always be the hero” is what my father always told me, “Don’t let anyone steal your beautiful glory!” I had to show him my “beautiful glory” by saving his life. He was violently shaking on the floor before I controlled my thoughts enough to think of a way to help the situation. Hurry, hurry… Think quickly. You know what to do!

Running to the refrigerator I grabbed the Glucogan shot that I was told to use in case of an emergency. When I returned to the living room I saw the agonizing look on my father’s face. His eyes were blood shot and red, he was drooling from his mouth, and the convulsions were becoming increasingly worse. I lifted up the leg of his rain soaked shorts and administered the entire shot into his thigh. The convulsions continued for what seemed like minutes.

At that moment, my mother came through the front door with a bag of groceries. When she saw my father’s condition, the grocery bag plummeted to the floor and she hurried to his side.
“What happened?” she asked looking at the empty Glucogan shot lying on the floor. “How much did you give him? When did it start?” Her hands rested under his head as he began to relax and return to a normal mental state.
Without answering any of her questions, I felt like I was floating above my body, observing but not acting. Forgetting to put on my shoes I went out the door and began to hastily walk towards the beach. The quick walk soon turned into a run as the rain pelted my face. If I had thought sooner I should have stopped him from working in the rain hours ago. Why didn’t I think sooner? Me and my stupid television shows. I am irresponsible and it is my fault my mother has to worry about him all the time. Looking up at the sky, I cried out to God; “What lesson are You trying to teach me? How will this bring me closer to You?”
Tears run down my cheeks and wash away with the rain that trickles down my face. The air is hot and sticky, but the rain falls steadily. As I trudge barefoot across the beach, the sand feels crisp on my feet. Gazing ahead at the lake’s rippled body, I step on something pointy. I inspect the ground and find a piece of tarnished metal that is the cause of my bewilderment. It is a cross. But its lustrous appearance has faded due to, what looks like, years of neglect. I grasp the cross with my trembling hands and hold it tight to my chest. I understand the lesson, and realize the meaning.





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