In 1994, my life was full. I settled into college. I ditched that boyfriend, and I had big travel plans for the summer, Europe baby! Life was busy. Life was good.
Oblivious to the genocide that was taking place half a world away, my thoughts were focused on my future.
Do you remember Rawanda?
800,000 people killed in just 100 days, and Rawanda’s minority tribe, the Tutsis, were almost destroyed.
I was nineteen, and yet, I'm ashamed to say I vaguely remember hearing something about a civil war in Rawanda.
Now it makes me sick, but then, I barely noticed.
It is impossible to have compassion if you don’t have knowledge. I had no knowledge of the Hutus and Tutsis and therefore, sadly, I didn’t have any compassion. Across the ocean were atrocities of unimaginable magnitude, and I was totally unaware. I was happy living life in my tiny circle.
It wasn’t until years later when I read Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza, (an amazing, true story of faith, hope, and survival) that I started to grasp what not only I, but much of the world had missed in Rawanda.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the first steps leading to GRACIOUS GIVING: Gratefulness, contentment, and compassion. For the next few posts, I’ve decided to focus on compassion.
I know compassion starts with an awareness of the needs of others. How do you make yourself aware of the happenings of the world and those around you? Watch the news? Read the paper? Get online updates? How do you force yourself to see the people outside of your circle?