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Compassion Will Change the World

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

I don't know what your politics are. I don't even know what politics are. Sniffing out your kindness is what's important.

What do dog noses have that humans don't? They possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in us. And the part of a dog's brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is about 40 times greater than ours. -from The Phoenix Veterinary Center.

I can smell kindness even when it's buried deep inside of you.

When my family takes me for an exotic walk (a new trail discovered on Google Maps or, Dad's favorite, paper maps) I have a lot of energy for a fourteen year old dog because I'm discovering an avalanche of new smells and the stories they tell.

We all had a good time on last Saturday's exotic walk in Richmond, VT. However, ticks were discovered on the way home. After my family spent time checking, washing and worrying we all settled in for a cozy evening at home. I can still smell compassion even through dark periods of disease threats.

Here's a poem written by Yitzi Gittelsohn relevant to the theme of compassion:

Each curse is a blessing waiting to be transformed

Take the peach tree

Cursed by blight 

Producing but a few wrinkled hard fruit

Year after year

But somehow, in spite of its curse

It persists 

Year after year

Managing a few beautiful blossoms

A few fruits all the more sweet

For the fact they came from darkness, from dis-ease

Take the words 

Cursed by ill-will

That came from my mouth last night 

Like the fruit of my inner photosynthesis

Yet the light must have sat too long inside me

Fermenting into something foul and musty

So when they came forth into the world as the fruit of speech

They tasted stale on my tongue, made my mouth dry, parched for some water to cleanse it

Spit those cursed words out, man

Find a clean spring, though all you see is mud

Let the harsh cold liquid burn your poisoned throat

And drip down into your blackened heart

Feel the agent of pure sight, of clarity

Painfully transform your stewing soul into a vessel for love

Bit by bit

Season by season

Year after year

Persist like the cursed peach tree

And wrestle out a few beautiful blossoms

A few wrinkled fruits

For the whole admiring world to see

Yes, indeed each curse is a blessing waiting to be transformed

Like a fallen angel who flaps its wings and sings, “I was holy, I was high!”

And in doing so causes earthquakes, causes tidal waves

Like a fallen angel who is tired, scared, and in a strange land

Who has nothing left to do but to curl up like a baby and ask the great earth it has fallen on to hold it, comfort it, love it

Like a fallen angel who, in its sweet repose after a long hard night, dreams not that it is lifted back to its lofty heights 

But that God Herself bends down 

To kiss that sleeping fallen angel goodnight

And now, upon waking, remembering that all is one, the angel sees the most brilliant sunrise

And though it has not moved, not budged one inch

Like the cursed peach tree

Like me and you in our stewing

It now sees the blessing of this strange land it has fallen to

It now sees it’s still an angel and it’s in a new sort of heaven:

A peculiar heaven where every curse, like a fallen angel,

Is a blessing waiting to be transformed

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