johnmac's rants

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Compassion

So many of the Memorial and Funeral comments about Ted Kennedy's life dwelt on his personal kindness, out of the public view, to individuals rather than his political accomplishments. Kennedy participated in over 1,000 bills with over 300 bearing his name and friends and political foes alike speak of him as one of the "greatest senators of all-time". Yet it was the small personal things he did that were the anecdotes that were constantly brought up by those who remembered him affectionately -- and there were thousands that did.

This quality of caring for friends and acquaintances in times of need and the necessary outreaching of empathy and sympathy has been evidenced in the concern and caring shown for a friend of mine from the "old neighborhood" and the Internet who, after 10 years of sobriety, "fell off the wagon" and is now finishing a rehab stint. The support and love that out poured for her was heart-warming and represented, in no small way, the overall closeness that bonded the graduates of the little piece of Heaven at the top of Manhattan Island, NYC -- "Inwood". As my friend, Tom Hanlon says, when speaking of another Inwood alum, "he's on the team" -- and we care about our teammates!

Paradoxically, the only one who has behaved as an unfeeling judgemental with is the woman's twenty-year younger step-sister (whom she wasn't aware of until two weeks ago -- it's possible that this surprise was "the trigger).

We remember the towering deeds of people from the history books because that is all we know about them but those people whom we know from experience, no matter how large they stand in the world, we remember because of our personal interaction. It is the yardstick by which we measure people and, once again, I see Inwood folk (most of whom I have never met) coming out at the head of the class.

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