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Feeling good, though it’s been a rough day for technology. My “o” key is skipping, my power fluctuating and my satellite Internet slow as spring syrup dripping from a tapped maple tree. It got me outside in the sunshine and gave me the opportunity to talk to four different tech reps with my Internet provider. Feeling good after my melt-down with the final rep led to her fixing what I kept trying to point out was the problem.
Ever feel that way? It feels like problem upon problem and at the breaking point they clear like storm clouds and you see the beauty behind the storm? Yes, it’s that kind of after-the-storm-has-passed feeling good. My blog connectivity is fixed and I can share the Return of Robins to the Hood.
Compassion is still on my mind. Maybe because that last rep cared enough to listen to me when I hit the breaking point instead of repeating what her customer service manual suggested she do. It’s on my mind because we are approaching #1000 Voice Speak for Compassion on February 20, and because the last round of Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction: Stories of Compassion are amazing.
So I’m going to push feeling good. Here’s a little Michael Bublé to set the tone:
And I have a celebration to share. One of the heart, not the page. We have many readers of our stories at Carrot Ranch who remain anonymous, but regularly I see them “liking” and “sharing” our compilations of 99 words. It feels good to have readers, especially dedicated ones.
One of these regular readers is the Hub’s Kansas sister. She’s the one who took me to Rock Creek in October. I’ll call her Glutard because it will make her laugh and I love to hear her laugh. And I wish her much laughter and many years of feeling good; she is getting married this Sunday.
So, I’d like to offer our special reader a wedding gift of stories that feel good. Stories about how compassion makes the receiver or the giver feel. Stories of happy-ever-after endings. Stories about outrageous wedding gifts or the most incredible weddings ever. Go with where the prompt takes you, but return with a story that feels good.
February 18, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about feeling good. Is it a relationship? A new dawn, a new day? A reprieve or a relief from earlier tension? Does it come from giving or receiving a gift? Is it the result of compassion? If you hear wedding bells, add them to the story.
Respond by February 24, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!
What I’d Buy You by Charli Mills
If I had a trillion dollars, I’d buy you Bob’s Red Mill. The gluten-free division. I’d rebuild it in your back yard and every morning you’d rise to the smell of blueberry muffin happiness. I’d buy the land between Idaho and Kansas, moving it somewhere else so we could be closer and laugh out loud between our open doors. I’d buy you a costume-making business and you could make us those riding dresses we saw online, and I’d buy us horses to ride to your wedding. But money can’t buy what we already share: a friendship that feels good.
Rough Writers, check out the updated collaboration page.
An engine lurches and mutters to a halt. It’s so dark outside, the night is like obsidian, but I see dim headlights and a bobbing flashlight as a man tries to open the hood to the engine of his logging truck. The Hub puts on shoes and a jacket to go outside and help a stranger broke down in the night.
My friend is a retired Navy photographer. She tells people she had it easy. “Not like you,” she says to the Army soldier seated in front of her. He’s completed two tours of duty in Iraq and is reluctant to admit he has trouble sleeping. My friend pokes acupuncture needles in both his ears to reduce “stress.” No one mentions the P-word that can mar a soldier’s career. Yet the auricular acupuncture offered regularly, helps. My friend volunteers every other Wednesday at Fort Snelling and has not missed a day in seven years.
I hired a dynamic young woman to take over the education and outreach at my organization. At her first community outreach meeting, which she would take over eventually, she listens to a donation request made by the friend of a woman who is pregnant and battling breast cancer. “Please, can the co-op help her buy some healthy food.” I look over at my new hire and know I made the right choice. Tears stream down her face as she nods, yes.
Online, I follow a local social media group for news on jobs or postings for trades. A woman posts the comment, “I have a question please. Am I the only one on these Facebook sites that finds it offensive when people sadly have a tragedy in their lives.” I want to answer, I hope you are the only one! How can another person’s tragedy be offensive? Why is it, not all people can feel compassion.
What is compassion?
Although my handy-dandy (American) dictionary defines compassion as “sorrow for the sufferings or trouble of another or others” it also defines pity with the same phrase. However, the important differentiation is that compassion is “accompanied by an urge to help” whereas pity “sometimes connotes slight contempt because the object is regarded as weak or inferior.”
To me, the woman with the question felt pity for “people [who] sadly have tragedy” because she felt contempt for how they asked for help or handled their donations. A person in need is not an inferior human. Even a person who makes mistakes or misjudgements or lacks compassion (like this woman with a question) is not inferior.
Compassion is kind. It is merciful. It is loving. It is not withheld for the privileged few. It can even extend to horses and peat moss and all of life.
Rough Writers, Norah Colvin and Anne Goodwin, introduce us to two words that extend from compassion. Weltschmerz: “world pain” or the grief we feel at how the world keeps falling short of our expectations. Meliorism: having a belief that the world can be improved by the actions of humans. Anne sums up the interaction of the two words:
“Both are useful: weltschmerz enabling us to care enough about what’s wrong and meliorism driving us to try to do something about it.”
That is what compassion looks like in action. Yet, another compassionate action is taking hold — #1000Speak. It is a call for 1000 voices blogging for compassion on February 20. When I think of compassionate bloggers, I think of another Rough Writer, Ruchira Khanna who writes an inspirational blog with daily mantras at Abracabadra. Imagine a concerted effort by bloggers in one day to write with words that make a difference in the lives of others!
This is what it looks like in a video created by Tamara Woods who encourages us to “break the internet with compassion”:
So this week we will tackle stories that reveal compassion. In addition to our compilation, I will link to it in my own #1000Speak post on February 20. When spreading your own stories or posts, use the hashtag for greater visibility.
February 11, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that demonstrates compassion. You can explore weltschmerz (enabling us to care enough about what’s wrong) and meliorism (driving us to try to do something about it) if you want to explore those specific terms. Consider posting on February 20, too.
Respond by February 17, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!
Her Worth by Charli Mills
The old mare hung her head low, lips quivered above grass-forsaken dirt, ribs protruded beneath a swayed back. She was broken.
“How much you want for her,” asked the Fed Ex driver.
A lean cowboy scrawled his signature for his box. “That nag?”
“That our wine?” A beautiful woman stepped out onto the deck.
The cowboy winked at the Fed Ex man. “There’s a beauty worth buying.”
“Can’t afford that one. How much for the horse?”
He knew his boss would ask how a starving mare got into the back of his van, but already her ears had perked.
Ranch-keeping for Rough Writers: I’m working on how to communicate my ideas for the collaboration. Bear with me as I seek my words. And, I can use an Amazon widget for the bookstore, but it’s an affiliate thing so I’m trying to verify that I would be helping you in book sales, not robbing you! That would be embarrassing to this buckaroo. But I like the idea of populating the page with the ability to purchase the books rather than link to Amazon. Is there anyone with a preference or who is not selling on Amazon?
Look for my first Rodeo post tomorrow! I purchased a real bull-riding photo (as if that’s going to help my cause for publication). Of course, I still believe in me lucky charms if you care to step over Elmira Pond Spotter and take a peek at my peat.