Other essays on this theme

Essay: "Compassion"

by J.A. Parrish
Just Not Happening Here

Although I may be currently residing in a state prison, I am still capable of exemplifying the virtue of compassion. Even the most vile of society's incorrigibles are capable of exercising compassion. I think it all starts inside of that person's heart. Here in prison where I reside today, compassion is a rare commodity. To some of us incarcerated, it's more convenient to lavish envy, jealousy and selfishness on those who we interact with in a daily basis. That is because of the possibility that we may be looked upon as being weak, we choose to stay cautious. As a people, we are afraid that if given an opportunity, our peers will take our compassion for granted and chalk it up that we are weak.

Some of us here in prison are not used to lavishing compassion on one another; however, we do not hesitate to let someone feel the brunt of our anger. So tell me, just what is it about compassion that we so often grow uncomfortable about? If you had the opportunity to let one of your peers experience one of your virtues, which virtue would you extend? God commanded us in his word to love one another, but, are we doing that? Let's ask ourselves what would make us want to show someone Compassion, what is the root cause?

Some men here in prison would not accept your compassion, so be careful even when doing that. I think the virtue of compassion is foreign here in prison. However, I am very experienced with envy, jealousy, selfishness, animosity, retaliation and cursing. Most of the time, when men are lavishing upon you compassion, you would be wise to see what ulterior motives they have. With this free-will that God gave me, I choose compassion over any other virtue. I say this because I think that without God indwelling us, we will always choose that lesser virtue. I am committed to Love, but at times I am provoked to anger and I respond in a negative manner. This is my sixth time to be incarcerated here and so I am telling you what I know from experience. Compassion is just not happening here. Why can't we give one another compassion as easily as we are prone to hate? I am here in prison crying out for some real genuine compassion. When will I experience this long lost virtue? Someone please teach me how to get in touch with my emotions?