Compassion for Criminals?

Just after I announce I’m using the blog for wedding plans I’m compelled to post something else. I’m awake at 3:30 this morning because at 1:30 a KPD officer knocked on our door alerting us that 3 guys had broken into vehicles belonging to us and our neighbors.

Interesting I suppose. More interesting was what I realized when I got back in bed, trying in vain to sleep. Ten years ago, the day after paying my car off, someone broke into it and tried to steal it. I was mid-twenties and was at first scared, then pissed. The mere thought that someone else feels entitled to something I worked very hard for (aside from the government, apparently) has always enraged me.

Tonight though, I was first curious (how many guys, what did they look like, what kind of car, etc.) and then as I processed further, I started to imagine their lives. Were they kids from the trailer park down the street? Maybe they were living in a cramped home where families merged because they couldn’t pay their bills and had to live together to afford housing. Maybe their parents had lost their jobs and were one step away from homelessness and the kids were trying to figure out how to help.

You see, I believe we are all doing the best we can with the resources we have at the time. If kids are not provided better resources, then it becomes more challenging to create better solutions to problems at hand. I also believe that most people are driven by love, even if it is severely misguided.

The thing I began to realize is how the years have changed my focus. Rather than getting angry I realized I was feeling compassion in trying to imagine where these guys came from and what drove them to the end of our cul-de-sac to pilfer through vehicles for some loose change. And it reminds me that we are all one. I am them and they are me. We are just in very different places and, at the moment I had to choose, I chose to ask a more quality question to come up with a better solution in life. They chose to take a different route.

Next time someone upsets you, I challenge you to stop and try to create a scenario in your head that might drive you to do the same thing that is bothering you. Reacting with compassion will allow you to recognize our oneness in the universe and to feel more connected with others. This awareness will truly shape your thoughts, which in turn will positively change your life.