Lately, I have been very deliberate in searching for the beautiful things in the world in places where others may not. This has seen me trying to uncover what lies beneath the obvious by, literally and metaphorically, lifting rocks, digging in the soil, scouring alleyways, and trying to hear others through the veneers of small talk. It is something that I want to write about soon, for there is much to find, if we search.
Reality is harsh. It can be cruel and ugly. Yet no matter how much we grieve…what is important is not to be defeated, to forge ahead bravely. If we do this, a path will open before us.Daisaku Ikeda
The world isn’t always like this, however. Sometimes, what we find beneath the surface isn’t pretty. Yesterday, I was told that a student whom I had bent over backwards to help, in whatever way I could, had lodged a complaint against me because the grade he had achieved wasn’t what he wanted or needed to be able to get into his college of choice.
I talked about it, very briefly, with a colleague who knew of the work I had put in, and he said that it was an awful thing to happen, to me. I agreed with him, but added that what concerned me more was what drove the young person in question to behave in the way he did.
Today, as I was earnestly attending to tasks that have to be completed, the same young man approached me and asked for my assistance again. Had I been a different person, I might have, in anger, retribution, or self-preservation, turned him away. I didn’t. I am not that person. As I have learned, true compassion means considered action. Despite the feelings that I may have been harbouring, and they were present, I knew that this student who faced me with a gentle smile needed to be cared for.
The charade may well continue and there may well come a time when, with eyes now open, I will need to confront him calmly and openly. That is not now, however, and I hope – for hope is a verb – that we find the path.