I found it ironic that the essay “Homeless, but Not Crazy” by Keith Russell Ablow was followed immediately by Thich Nhat Hanh’s “At War With Ourselves” [March 1993]. It seems the solution to Dr. Ablow’s “nagging guilt” might be in Thich Nhat Hanh’s statement: “When we see someone suffering, if we touch her with compassion, she will receive our comfort and love, and we will also receive comfort and love. We can do the same when we ourselves are suffering.”
I was deeply touched by Dr. Ablow’s predicament, and I realize that seldom are choices black or white. I also know that intellectual justifications for our actions are too readily accepted by society. As individuals, we are limited in what we can do for those in pain, but sometimes we are given an opportunity to show compassion to one person in need. Many times that is all we can do, and we need to say, “Let it begin with me,” if our humanity is to survive in this “modern” world.
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