Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Compassion for Ourselves

 I've renamed this post and I've rewritten part of it several times. 

Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, ended yesterday evening.  This day has a deep meaning for those of the Jewish faith, as the Almighty makes final determination of our fate for the coming year.  Prior to the beginning of Yom Kippur, the religious Jew has tried to make amends for all his or her wrongdoings of the past year, and asked forgiveness/tries to make things right with those he or she has hurt. Yom Kippur itself is marked by a 25 hour fast and various religious observances.

Here is a brief history of Yom Kippur.

So, why am I blogging this after the holiday has ended?

It's about compassion and caring for each others, and those who give all because they care.

I have been thinking recently of Dr. Adeline Fagan  

Dr. Fagan, who grew up in LaFayette, New York (perhaps an hour from where I live), was a OB/GYN resident in a hospital in Houston, Texas. Dr. Fagan died earlier this month after a two month fight with COVID-19.  She been rotating through a number of positions within the hospital as part of her residency.  As part of this, she worked in the ER and was exposed to COVID-19 patients.

She was 28.

Her parents moved down to Houston to be closer to her, but they were only able to see her (briefly) three times before she died.

I want to take you to LaFayette, New York for a minute.  LaFayette is apple growing country but hundreds of cars must pass this exit off I-81 near Syracuse, New York to experience that beautiful country.

It is beautiful country.

Apple Valley, they call themselves. This is not an apple processing plant but a large orchid is near this business.

It's hard to imagine a young woman growing up in this peaceful place practicing medicine in the bustling city of Houston.  Her dream was to practice OB/GYN medicine, and she was taken from us way, way too soon, miles and miles from home.

Meanwhile, our country continues to tear itself apart.  Anyone who is in the public eye in any way related to COVID seems to be a target for one side of another, in attacks that make anyone wonder where the truth is.

But one thing is for certain.  Those who died should not be forgotten. 

If only we could find our way back to the path of caring for one another.  But perhaps it is too late.  Certain of us don't seem to care.  They do whatever they want, and don't think (or care) about the consequences.

For others, what seems simple to you or me can create the need for consultation with religious authorities for others.  For still others, certain of the recommended practices to curb COVID-19 are unthinkable.  I'm not thinking masks here, which is a whole other (seriously charged) topic in the United States, but, rather, cultures that live in overcrowded situations in multi generational households and refuse not to gather in large family groups for certain observances.

Not all is lost, though.  Here's one viewpoint - enjoy.

If you want still another viewpoint, this post by someone who lived through a civil war several years ago  may scare you, or plunge you into self-denial.  

We may need compassion for the entire human race, and how impossible is that?

Perhaps we start with compassion for ourselves, and go from there.

Can we overcome what seems hopeless?

Is there still hope for us worldwide to escape this second wave, which is already on its way?

We can only continue to move forward, one day at a time.


  1. ...we both live in beautiful parts of this wonderful state! This country needs to pull in the same direction.

  2. We live in a scary world. I hope we can swing the pendulum back towards a more caring, compassionate society.

  3. I'd like to believe we will overcome and become united, or at least more so. I don't have a lot of faith that will happen though. The past few years have divided this country so far I'm not sure the cracks can be repaired. When we have young people accept it we're in trouble. My own 25 year old says, in regards to the US, "It's as good as it's gonna get." I get upset and tell him, that's not true if young people get out and care! There is more acceptance and resignation. I NEVER used to think "me vs them" and I've been thinking that way in the past year. I am not proud of that, it's wrong.
    As far as the large gatherings, I can't imagine how these brides and grooms live with themselves after their weddings and receptions lead to deaths! Such selfish people. That's what we are fighting here, selfishness. Surely it is clear that the community health (what's another word, when trumps the right one, but I don't want to use it?) is more important than individual "rights" to not wear a mask, or meet with their 100 member choir? Now Florida opening bars and restaurants with no restrictions? Deaths are acceptable to some. My oldest brother still believes the virus is a way to keep the President from being re-elected. He is, in other ways, an intelligent man. No hope for some. Sorry for the long comment...

  4. Each death is heartbreaking, but those who we hear about on a personal level strikes a little harder. I cannot believe how many people in this country are mourning, how many feel for them and how many just do not.
    May Dr. Fagan's memory be for a blessing.

  5. I think our country has come to a reckoning. A lesson. We have a choice here on how we move forward. It may not seem that way. It may seem like we're all yelling at each other. But I think we need to look at where we've come from and decide what we want to do to continue.

    I read someplace that the great plagues transformed society. You can draw a direct line from the Black Death of the 1300s to the Renaissance of the 1400s. So, I like to think that good things are coming even though it doesn't seem like that now.


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