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Essay: "Compassion"


Compassion is to care passionately. Never is it self-serving or selfish and it's always projected outward. It may be rarer than true love and this essay is a tribute to a man that cared most passionately: Walt Rosen, a friend sorely missed by all.

To have examined our backgrounds you'd have thought friendship impossible. Walt was raised in a Jewish home and I in a Christian one. He was a well educated genius and I a self-educated plodder. By goodness, he was even a Yankee and me a son of Dixieland. Walt's compassion let us meet on the common ground of our rebellious natures. We were both disgusted with our government and American politics. Walt felt that way for years, but it was new to me.

Anti-establishment feelings are expected of all Rebels, but I didn't expect I'd find such a Rebel Spirit living so far north. I came to know better. Walt's rebelliousness predated my birth. I had thought being locked up was an experience he could never understand. Now I know he went to jail for protesting the Vietnam War. That's another of our differences. My incarceration came from caring too little and his from caring too much. Walt even came to care about me and, as with all the best things in life, I never realized how dear he was until it was too late.

Much of our discussions over the years were about the existence of God. By different paths we had come to the same conclusions and were both agnostics with a healthy paranoia of religion. Neither of us had faith in the intolerant dogma of Church and Synagogue. Our most salient point of agreement came in a lack of belief that any human is capable of knowing what lies beyond Death's dark door. Not until we cross that threshold can we know for sure. My friend has crossed over before me and is now beyond the veil. Whatever is to be found Walt is curiously exploring and because he is there, it is closer that ever to being paradise for his presence? Compassion will drive him to improve what he finds there and the thought of meeting my friend in some garden he has planted is a comfort to me. Maybe only darkness lies in the void beyond death. If I find it dark when I cross over I'll search the horizon for some light in the gloom. There is where I'll find my friend. For if he finds there is no paradise and has an eternity before him, there is no doubt that he'll set to work and build one. He wouldn't want to see us disappointed