Friday, August 10, 2012

Compassion: It's Where It's At

I would just like to say thanks to the many of you who offered such kind words in response to my loss of mojo. While things have not changed much in terms of life circumstances, I have a deep and overwhelming love for this community.

Compassion is what gets us through. This I believe.

 I once heard an anthropologist on a  radio lecture recounting this very thought as to how it has been possible for humans to survive droughts, fires, floods, wars and other disasters throughout history. While some of the details might have escaped me, the essence of the story has stuck with me ever since.

The son of British citizens, this anthropologist grew up in Kenya. He was familiar and fascinated with the country's rugged terrain, the vast spanse of uneven land that seemed to never end. An adventurer, he lost both of his legs in an accident, I believe it was a plane crash.

As an adult, he was in London on a day where the rain seemed to come down in buckets.  Walking along a busy highway, he lost his footing, and one of his two prosthetic legs flew across the road. He sat there soaked for ages, while cars whizzed by. He was stranded.

Out of nowhere, a drunken man approached him. Confused, he asked him what he was doing sitting there in the rain. The anthropologist replied that his leg was on the other side of the highway and therefore out of his reach. There were some comedic exchanges between the two until the drunken man crossed the wet road to retrieve the prosthetic piece and then continued on his journey. 

Eventually, the anthropologist hailed a cab and made it back to tell his story.The two never met again, but what the anthropologist gained from his experience was this: That we humans, who originated from the African continent, would never have survived an ankle sprain on that uneven, rugged Kenyan terrain without the help of others. This compassion for our fellow human beings continues to enable us to withstand a rainy day spill on a modern London highway or even a loss of writerly mojo.

We need each other. Isn't that a beautiful thing?


P.S. Here is a picture of two of my favorite friends that would never survive without the other.


21 comments:

  1. Beth, if you have any doubt in your ability as a writer, just witness today's blog post. Its effect on this fellow writer - tears of compassion and an actual LOL (in the workplace, no less) at your wry comment with the classic photo. Way to command human emotions with your choice of words! You big writer, you. :)

    (Note to my five year old, who is not reading ths: tonight's bedtime stories will include "There Is A Bird On Your Head." Love that one... :))

    NotAnonymously, Melissa Kelley

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  2. You are so nice Melissa Kelley! Thank you! And I hope you enjoy tonight's reading with Elephant and Piggie. They're the best. That pigeon isn't too shabby either.

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  3. This is an amazing and encouraging post for all of us. We DO need each other!!

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    1. Thanks Julie! And thanks to you, we have one of the most supportive groups of all! ;)

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  4. I just love it that we have this writing community! It keeps me going :-)

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  5. Amen to what Julie and Penny just said and what a beautiful post this is too. Elizabeth, you have the ability to reach us far and wide with your writing.

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    1. Thanks so much Diane. What a nice thing to say! This community is truly wonderful. =)

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  6. Not only when we fall and pick each other up, but also when we triumph and ride upon each others' shoulders!

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    1. This is so true! Thanks for the reminder Cathy. =)

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  7. YES! This community is the best. And this post is so true, and so lovely. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks so much Beth. It is people like you who make this place so special. =)

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  8. This community is a family of the heart.
    When our scale is out of balance, our support for each other via post such as this, a chat, a cyber {{{hug}}}, let's us know we're not alone. Oh how I love this writing family of ours!

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  9. I echo everyone's comments - this community is wonderful and we really couldn't do it without each other. Thanks for a lovely post.

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    1. Thanks Susanna. You are a shining example of what we all aspire to be. =)

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  10. Elizabeth, I have to admit that I hadn't written much since June in the way of picture books. I got a freelance gig, and I just wasn't motivated to do the whole write, revise, submit. But I have to admit that going to SCBWI was the real kick in the pants I needed. I felt like I got some real direction, some ideas for places that could use my talents, and I was off and running again. In fact, I banged out an MS Wednesday. For me, I have to have direction to have the motivation to get there. BTW, I love Gerald and Piggie too. Have you read "Listen to My Trumpet?" My kids literally wet their pants every time.

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    1. Kirsten. SCBWI was a genius idea of Lin Oliver's. We are so lucky to have such an inspiring prganization at our fingertips! So glad you are feeling motivated again. That is one of the best feelings. And yes, I have read LISTEN TO MY TRUMPET. I hope to own all of the Elephant and Piggie books someday. Willems is so talented. =)

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  11. Beautiful post, Elizabeth, and so true! Nothing to say but BIG HUG!!!!!

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    1. Awww... thanks Renee. So glad to have met you here. =) Hugs to you too. ;)

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  12. This comes at such a good time for me: three hours before my daughter's flight, the passport still on a Fedex truck, and Mommy can't help. Thanks!

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