Journey of Life

the place formerly known as control your destiny


CompassionI have just come home from a client visit which has left me somewhat mentally drained.

Not because they were demanding but because of what one of them are going through.

It left me with a desire to help and yet I feel unable to.

It is a lovely young couple wanting to buy their first home together. Initially I wasn’t able to fit them in as they could only be available on a Saturday and I was fully booked, but when I realised that they live very close to me  I offered to drop by their house on my way home. When I first spoke to him on the phone and offered to come around he sounded kind of grumpy and showed no sign of gratitude for the fact that I would sacrifice my own time to come and see them out of work hours.  My assumption could not be further from the truth and I feel ashamed that I made that assumption in the first place.

I had promised to ring them before coming around and managed to leave without his number, and decided to go home to google his name hoping to find some kind of contact number. I found his work number and thought maybe he’ll have a voice mail listing his mobile/cell number only to find out that there was no voice mail.

What the google search did reveal is what left me ashamed of having judged him based on a telephone conversation; I found a newspaper article and discovered that he had been diagnosed with severe cancer and given a year to live. Even worse, he had found out that there was a drug available that could prolong his life but due to the cost of that drug the health service would not help. Fortunately through a lot of fighting he won the battle with the health service.

When I saw them today I felt a desire to help that I have not felt before.  Both of them are wonderful people and I find it so difficult to observe anyone going through things like this.

I have always found it very difficult to observe people going though hard times, even people I would normally avoid.

I often wonder why I so often get so emotionally attached to people I have just met, in the sense that I somehow make it my responsibility to ease their burden and hardship. A responsibility I have no chance of fulfilling, but I still keep trying to in the hope that maybe one day I will.

I did leave in the solace that he has a wonderfully caring girlfriend, who I am sure is helping him and giving him a reason to keep fighting. I would hate for anyone to have to face anything like this on their own.

Still, I am left here with a burning desire to do something to help and can’t think of how! Also I am trying to work out why our paths crossed as I believe less and less in pure coincidence. I have come to believe that there is a reason for the compassion I feel and the desire I feel to help.

My thoughts and prayers are with them both and one day I will know the reason we met.


15 responses to “Compassion

  1. viv66 March 21, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    I used to work as a therapist, doing foot massage. I used to see various people who were seriously ill, one terminally so, and it sometimes did get to me that there was so little I could do. In the case of the terminal one, he and his wife told me they were certain my visits had made a big difference and had possibly added as much as a year to his life.
    In real terms, sometimes all one may do is pray. Or if you do not pray, then hold them in your thoughts in a gentle way.
    I am certain your being willing to give your time will have made a small difference to how they now view the world.
    Thank you also for the kind birthday wishes; I had a lovely day!

    • J March 22, 2009 at 7:17 am

      Thank you Viv,

      You are right that sometimes all we can do is to pray or hold them in our thoughts.

      I am delighted to hear you had a lovely birthday.

      Best wishes


  2. serendipity hopeful March 21, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    May he have peace and may your question be answered.

  3. J March 22, 2009 at 7:21 am

    Thank you for your kind comment.
    I am happy to welcome you here and hope to see you back soon.

    All the best


  4. Molly March 23, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Thanks for sharing your insights and this beautiful story. I say let it all unfold, the reasons why, let them unfurl as do petals on a flower.

    And sometimes all we can do for others is hold a space for them, whether they are aware of this or not.

    Again, thanks for sharing your insights. Your words move me.

  5. J March 23, 2009 at 5:02 pm


    Thank you so much for your kind and wonderful comment. You are right, letting it unfold and holding a space for them is all I can do right now.

    With wishes of joy and happiness


  6. viv66 March 24, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this.
    Because you live fairly near, my thoughts are that you will encounter these people again. I have seen the same when people interweave in my life often over years and it becomes slowly apparent that there is a reason. What your reason is, I do not know.
    Tomorrow I am back at work; but one nice thing is the German group coming over have specifically requested ME as their courier for all trips. Made me feel rather nice!

  7. J March 24, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    I don’t know what my reason is yet but I too think that I will encounter them again – just a fairly strong feeling!

    I am so pleased that the German group have specifically requested you and even more pleased that it made you feel rather nice, which I think you deserve to feel a lot!
    When you courier them around on trips what exactly do you do? (excuse my ignorance here)

  8. viv66 March 24, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Basically I act as tour guide, doing a walking tour of whatever city/town we go to. So I do a long walk round say, the tourist sites of central London telling the students all the history etc. I’m also responsible for their welfare aboard the coach etc. I’m going to meet them at Stansted tomorrow afternoon so most of tomorrow will be spent aboard a coach!
    As for the people you met, I’d say trust your instincts!

  9. J March 24, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    That’s really cool. It was Stansted I spent the night at a week ago. If ever you venture to Oxford let me know and I’ll be happy to help with the the walking tours and history.

  10. tobeme March 26, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Continue to be open to the why and it will reveal itself. Possibly the reasons your paths crossed was for you to write this post and share your thoughts on compassion with us. Your love is showing and it is beautiful!

    • J March 26, 2009 at 9:28 pm

      When I finished the post I did think that maybe the reason our paths crossed was to write this post as you said but I still feel there may be another reason and I will follow your advice and be open to the why.

  11. shiona March 28, 2009 at 9:13 am

    “I often wonder why I so often get so emotionally attached to people I have just met, in the sense that I somehow make it my responsibility to ease their burden and hardship.”

    I was once told by a complete stranger that it was my “karma” to help others. She was a numerologist and volunteered to calculate something about my birth date. I laughed at her because I was in a state of hating myself for not being able to say no to people, which often caused great inconveniences in my life. But then she said the sooner I learned to accept my “karma”, the easier and the better my life would be, whereas the more I protested against it, the worse. I truly despised her for saying that, but now, years later, I believe she was right. And I don’t believe there are coincidences, either. Each time I commit myself to helping someone, there is a wonderful gift waiting for me, just like that, out of the blue.

    So maybe it’s your “karma” too, J? 🙂

    • J March 28, 2009 at 9:48 am

      You may be right! Maybe it is my “Karma” or purpose to help others!
      Every time I feel that I have helped someone I do feel happier in myself.
      I did look into numerology some time ago and found it quite interesting. Maybe it’s time to revisit that!

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