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Compassion for everybody

A lady came in yesterday and was really upset about a book that was late. She kept going on and on about how “He was supposed to have renewed it.” She said this about five times.

I had an idea who she was talking about.

I took care of the fine and advised her to get a receipt next time and check it. We are human. We make mistakes. But her account is her responsibility to make sure it is correct.

Because we were dealing with a book about non-violent conflict resolution, I decided to open her up. I wanted her to have some compassion. You never know what burdens someone is carrying. Remembering that helps in defusing situations. If she is interested in resolving conflicts, she needs this tool.

At least I warned her that I was about to tell her something heavy.

I told her that more than likely the person who had made the mistake was grieving for his wife, who had died three weeks prior. I gave this a breath’s worth of pause.

I then told her that he himself has since died.

I showed her the memorial sign we have for him.

She stared at it, and said that was him.

Of course he didn’t renew her item. He wasn’t there. And now he really isn’t here.

I wanted her to cut him – and everybody else – some slack. You never know what people are dealing with. You never know what burdens they are carrying. They might not even know themselves.

So many of us are old minefields.

One thought on “Compassion for everybody

  1. I agree. It is important that we realize that everyone else is also a human with all the struggle that entails, so we can treat them a little more like equals.


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