sometimes people, even people you don’t know that well, can say the most basic things and make you feel really good. something for example like, “you should have been there, you would have loved it.” the good feeling comes from understanding, sensing, that they really mean it. and your emotion meets theirs.

god, i remember after jason died and i was still in belfast, i was at a party and a former classmate from my master’s program just came over to me and looked at me and kind of shook his head in sympathy. he didn’t even really say anything. it was just the look on his face; his emotion, the fact that he really cared, was so tangible. receiving that from another person isn’t something you forget. it’s almost like an electric current. i remember realizing at that moment, this is exactly what compassion is.

3 responses to “compassion

  1. awww.

    i like those “com-” words, compassion, compatriat… companion/ companero have the word bread in their etymology (someone you share bread with). me gusta!

    companion –
    c.1300, from O.Fr. compaignon “fellow, mate,” from L.L. companionem (nom. companio), lit. “bread fellow, messmate,” from L. com- “with” + panis “bread.” Found first in 6c. Frankish Lex Salica, and probably a translation of a Gmc. word (cf. Gothic gahlaiba “messmate,” from hlaib “loaf of bread”). Replaced O.E. gefera “traveling companion,” from faran “go, fare.” Related: companionable (mid-17c.), companionship (1540s).

    messmate! me encanta!

  2. omg “com pan”! thank you for sharing– i love that. i wonder if that connection is pretty obvious to people who think of bread as pan from childhood.

    my friend erick got a kick out of what “pan” means in english. i guess it’s funny because it seems like it could be related to producing bread, but it’s apparently from “vulgar latin” (har har, go English, way to be such a bastard):

    [Middle English, from Old English panne, from West Germanic *panna, probably from Vulgar Latin *patna, from Latin patina, shallow pan, platter, from Greek patanē; see petə- in Indo-European roots.]

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