Thursday, January 6, 2011

Harnessing Compassion

My friend Jenny and I had a conversation this morning about the tumor. She was wishing that bad things only happen to bad people, like prisoners, or those with black hearts. Later, I was thinking about it and I figured out why normal, inherently good people, have bad things happen.

I think it's to help harness the ability to have compassion. If bad things only happened to bad people we wouldn't need to feel empathy. We would look at people and say things like, "Well, he had Leukemia coming to him, he WAS an animal beater."

When children get sick it's such a devastating thing. They're so innocent, and undeserving. I know that when I see a child who's ill it breaks my heart. It stirs up all kinds of empathy and compassion. Their hardship makes me a better person. I wish I could take away their pain and illness, but I know that I can't. I can, however, treat others around me with more kindness. I hope, and I feel it's true, that my illness has opened the eyes of those around me to other people's hardships. We all have them, hardships. Everyone has a story.

Speaking of hardships, when I have a slow driver in front of me I like to make a story about their life, "maybe she's procrastinating because she knows when she gets home her husband is going to yell at her again," or, "he cut me off because his child is violently ill and needs to get home asap to take care of the other children so his wife can take the little one to the walk-in clinic." It's a fun trick that removes stress. When Danny and I are driving together the stories can get pretty outlandish. I can't imagine a world without empathy.

If only bad people had bad things happen, our society would be a miserable place. People would act entitled, and holier-than-thou. I'd take this tumor any day of the week over living in a place like that.


  1. When I'm working and I find myself feeling frustrated with someone I try to remember that I have no idea the burdens that person might be in 'To Kill a Mockingbird'
    "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." spoken by Atticus Finch.
    The thing is we have to be able to put our burdens down occasionally or we get awful tired.
    Love to you Jess, Jennifer

  2. Hi Jessica, I am Andrea Luthringer Martin's mom. I pray for your strength and healing. It is my hope that you and your family hang on tight to God and Christ. His love endures forever. Kathy Luthringer

  3. Hi Jessica,

    A friend and fellow TCU Frog pointed me to the blog. I am sorry to hear of your tumor and I will pray for quick healing and strength for you and your family. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.


    Michelle (Pope) Meyer - Pi Phi pledge sister

  4. Hi Jessica...
    Just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. A close friend is headed in for an awake craniotomy for *her* astrocytoma with Dr. Silbergeld in the morning (we live in Coeur d'Alene), and I found your blog while Googling him. Your bravery in posting your experience is so moving, and gives me hope for my friend. Saying a prayer for your MRI this week - as I've been telling her all week, kick some tumor a**! -m


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