I want you to imagine a scenario with me that is a common occurance in most of our lives at some point or another. If you're older and out of the house, you'll need to reflect back a little bit.
Imagine you come home one day from school and you open the door to your house. There, standing in the middle of the living room is one of your parents. They look up at you and then return their gaze to the floor.
You look down at the floor and see that one of the lamps in the living room (your parent's favorite lamp) is scattered on the floor in a million pieces. It's broken beyond repair. As you stand in the doorway gazing at the lamp, you notice that your parent is standing there looking at you...with that look. You know the look. In fact, you know it so well that the first words out of your mouth are...
"I didn't do it."
This is a quite typical response. In fact, it is so common, that it seeps into our responses to other things.
The truth is, you probably didn't break the lamp (it's usually your younger brother's fault). But your first step was to take all the blame and any sense of responsibility OFF of yourself. You were not responsible, you didn't cause this to happen, you didn't have anything to do with it. Until now.
Many times we respond to other issues the same way. We see a broken place in the world, a place where there's hunger, hurting, injustice, calamity, crisis, etc. We see it, but we quickly put up our hand and say, "That's not my fault. I didn't cause that." And then we think we're off the hook.
But the truth is, we have another option...the option of compassion. Compassion is the result of connectedness. It flows when we realize that there is something broken and we have a responsibility (motivated by concern, respect, love!) to use the resources at our disposal to make something better than it was when we found it (maybe not even better for ourselves, but better for someone else).
Let's go back to the broken lamp scenario.
You walk into the living room and see that the lamp is completely broken. Your parent looks at you with the less than subtle accusing glance. The next words out of your mouth are simply...
"Hey, let me help you clean that up."
That's the response from one who keeps their eyes open to the world around them. They understand that even though they might not share in the responsibility for the brokenness in the world, they invite the opportunity to take responsibility for righting the wrongs and using their time, effort, and resources to make a difference in the lives of someone else.
That's why compassion results from a sense of connectedness. When you hurt, I hurt. Ultimately, that's what community is all about.