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  • Simone Jacob

LIVING WITH COMPASSION - BUT HOW?


All Photos by Roman Kuhn

Recently, while waiting for the train, I saw an old, very thin, neglected woman. She hung limp on a luggage trolley and slept. Of course I have seen many beggars, but their special sight touched me. Many people were standing around them and I could see them trying not to see the old woman. They stared away, embarrassed.

Recently, while waiting for the train, I saw an old, very thin, neglected woman. She hung limp on a luggage trolley and slept. Of course I have seen many beggars, but their special sight touched me. Many people were standing around them and I could see them trying not to see the old woman. They stared away, embarrassed.


Sure, each of us has probably thrown 10 cents into a beggar's cap. But was that help? And didn't I have to consistently throw something into everyone's hat?

But then I had doubts. Why wasn't she my business?


What did I know about the package of life she was carrying that had brought her to this situation? And, hard to imagine, couldn't each of us end up in a similar situation as a result of a stroke of fate?


We feel supposedly safe. Failing in life is always done by others. But that's not true! We're all too happy to forget that. It makes it easier for us to distance ourselves.

All these thoughts went through my head at the train station... the train was late ;-).

Shortly before that I had bought a kilo of bright red, huge cherries, the first of this year, from a market stall. I looked at the bag, bulging and heavy. I was already running the juice in my mouth. I looked at the woman. What kind of celebration would it have to be for her if she woke up and found that bag of cherries? In order not to wake her up, I walked over very quietly and put the bag in her lap. When I got on the train and took one last look at the old woman, I could still see how amazed she opened the bag and put the first cherry in her mouth with a smile.


I imagined the sweet juice of the cherry exploding in her mouth and for a moment felt like exploding myself - with happiness.

After this experience, I decided to look away less, to look closer and have the courage to show compassion and, above all, to act. To act spontaneously, even if I acted quite inconsistently and didn't want to or couldn't help many others.


Doing good to one person is better than no one. I don't always succeed, but often.

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