Near the end of the hellish first year of the coronavirus pandemic, I was possessed by the desire to eliminate sugar—all refined sugar—from my diet. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the best time to add a new challenge to the mix of mayhem that already seemed to rule my life.
The book of Kings tells that the mothers of two newborns approached Solomon, that wise ruler, to settle a dispute. One of the babies had died, and each woman insisted that she was the mother of the survivor.
When I talk to my students about living for compassion, they tend to be quite interested. But few of them have ever contemplated this sort of life before. Like the life of courage and the life of thought, the life of compassion seems to be receding in our culture. People don’t talk much about ideals any more. We don’t usually offer them as viable options to the young.