Across the wide lake, the homes and businesses are almost too far away to see. But they are there. Barely visible, the places where people live and work exist in secret…oh, they do not intentionally hide their day-by-day existence, but distance conceals details that might offer clues to the lives of strangers. Distance is not the only veil. The houses up the street or even next door are full of secrets. What do the occupants do to make a living? Are they retired? Are they key members of a violent cartel, hiding in plain sight under the cover of legitimate businesses? We know almost nothing of the strangers across the lake. We know little more of next door neighbors. They could be retired instruments of foreign governments, having set aside espionage in favor of gardening and book clubs and meeting with other retirees, once a week, for coffee. But those people across the lake…or across national borders or across oceans…we rarely give them a thought. We know nothing of their personal challenges…their poverty or the diseases that wreck their lives and stress their friends and families to the breaking point. If we think about their lives, realizing they are just people like us, condemned to the rules of the societies in which they live, perhaps we will become more compassionate, despite our inability to influence the way the world treats them. Do any of those people think of us in the same way? Does their compassion extend to us? We can answer by looking within.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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One Response to Within

  1. Meg says:

    Good question. It is brought to my attention most every day by journalists reporting on the stress filled lives of others how very fortunate I am.

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