Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Competition, Compassion, and Thanksgiving

You heard it around, "The economy is bad. It's the worst it has ever been. My friends are relocating, terminated from their jobs, or laid off." Companies are cutting down cost, laying off workers, not giving bonuses this year. Americans are hoping the president elect creates more jobs and boosts the economy. However, waiting for the president elect to create new jobs would not change unemployment rates we see today, this week, this month. New jobs created and boost in economy does not even happen until 2011 as the president elect informs the media a week ago. While we are waiting for 2011 to happen and for new jobs in our neighborhood to appear, what can we do to help the unemployed, the needy, and the hungry?

I read this book about compassion and appropriately titled Compassion by Nouwen, McNeil, and Morrison. In it explains what our attitude and behavior exemplifies when we show compassion to others. The book states, "To be compassionate means to be kind and gentle to those who get hurt by competition." How true is it that the cause of our economic chaos is competition. Greedy gas companies hikes up gas prizes and dot-com and electronic companies move to third world countries to pay employees less than what they pay in America. So, the story goes on. We are left with struggling economy, unemployed fathers, mothers on welfare, and children without new toys for the holidays. When we look around us, we do not even have to cognitively compel ourselves to evoke compassion. I believe that each person is good-enough, not perfect, but good-enough to be compassionate.

I learn of a church that shows compassion to the needy. The Catholic Church in Tracy, St. Bernard, gives canned food to the needy each year. The church has been demonstrating compassion for more than 50 years. The church recruits many volunteers to help with sorting canned foods and giving them to people who could not afford to have Thanksgiving dinner. What the church exemplifies is true compassion. She is kind by sensing the felt need of people that is lack of budget to afford Thanksgiving dinner and by fulfilling the need of people that is giving dinner rolls, frozen turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. The church is also gentle when volunteers walks donations to families' cars and sends them off with a Happy Thanksgiving smile. To those people who are hurt by our competitive American economy, there are churches who feel the pain of others and show compassion to sufferers.

Happy Thanksgiving

For more about St. Bernard's Tradition, an article on Tracy Press has photos of the event.

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