Earlier this year, I received a summons for jury duty. Now, while I respect that it is my duty and responsibility to serve as a juror, I was worried. I have a young nursling who nurses frequently and being away from her for a long period of time really wasn’t conducive to nursing. While I was thinking of how to write a letter, respectfully requesting I be excused from jury duty at this time, my husband, in his ever reassuring tone, vacillated between reassuring me that we would do what we needed to make it work and saying that I would never be picked for jury duty. In his words, “[I] am way too analtyical to ever be picked for jury duty.” Now, I would argue that you want analytical individuals to be on juries duties, but I took what he said as a compliment. I am analytical. It is part of what makes me such a great researcher. I love looking at data, breaking it down, looking at it from an analtyical perspective. This is great for science, for important decisions, for looking at facts.
Life isn’t just about facts, though. Life is also about people and people do not fall nearly as easily into the same categories as facts. It’s easy to forget. I, myself, forgot this last week. I was so focused on my task, matching up numbers, playing with the spreadsheet, and being efficient at the job at hand, in between taking kids to co-op classes, helping them with projects, and every day busyness, that I forgot that there was another person on the other end of those numbers – a person who needed and deserved compassion. I was so focused on doing what I needed to do and fitting it in with everything else, that I left my compassion behind. Without compassion, we are little more than robots. Without compassion, we lose our connection with others.
In one brief instant, as I lay in bed nursing and reading to my children, it hit me. I realized how I could have better handled the situation – with compassion. I found myself back at the computer, writing an apology to someone. It’s easy to become so focused in our tasks and our goals, and our busyness, that we forget about compassion for others. It’s something we need to remember. Whether we are a person dealing with a friend, an employer dealing with an employee, a politician dealing with people, or even a tired parent interacting with tired children, we can’t afford to forget our compassion. When we do, we lose so much. We lose our humanity.