Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction: Compassion

This week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge deals with a much-needed topic: Compassion.

Charli reflects upon the meaning of compassion,  bringing up such definitions such as “sorrow for the sufferings or trouble of another or others”. She points out that compassion unlike pity is “accompanied by an urge to help”, whereas pity “sometimes connotes slight contempt because the object is regarded as weak or inferior.”

She reminds us that “compassion is kind. It is merciful. It is loving. It is not withheld for the privileged few. It can even extend to horses and peat moss and all of life.”

She also introduces us to Rough Writers, Norah Colvin and Anne Goodwin, who bring our attention to two words that extend from compassion. Weltschmertz: “world pain” or the grief we feel at how the world keeps falling short of our expectations. Meliorism: having a belief that the world can be improved by the actions of humans. Anne sums up the interaction of the two words:

“Both are useful: weltschmerz enabling us to care enough about what’s wrong and meliorism driving us to try to do something about it.”

Charli concludes that this is what compassion looks like in action.

I also learned from her post about #1000Speak. It is a call for 1000 voices blogging for compassion on February 20. We are all encouraged to join in and post on compassion on our blogs and twitter accounts.

So this week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge proposes stories that reveal compassion.

February 11, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that demonstrates compassion. You can explore weltschmerz (enabling us to care enough about what’s wrong) and meliorism (driving us to try to do something about it) if you want to explore those specific terms. Consider posting on February 20, too.

Respond by February 17, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

My own reflection is about how ‘far away’ and ‘unreal’ suffering may seem to children, thanks to the mass media, video games, Internet, etc.

As a teacher, I have often been amazed at how young people living in the comfortable and cozy ‘western world’, regard how many other homeless, hungry and war-stricken children live.

You can’t teach someone to be compassionate, but you can make them aware of how other children, just like them, are suffering in other parts of the world, and hopefully, compassion will grow…

This is my 99-word contribution:

I closed the storybook.
“The writer depicts a poor, hungry, and frightened little match girl with bare head and naked feet in the snow, lighting matches to keep warm, before finally dying while sitting against a wall on the pavement.”
“That happened a long time ago, Mrs. Smith. It doesn’t happen anymore.”
I turned on the projector.
“The journalist was killed after watching a little baby’s horrific death. She saw shells, rockets and tank fire during the massacre.”
“Wars are different.”
“It’s never different. It’s the same over and over; greed, hate, violence, suffering, and worst of all…. indifference.”


Published by LucciaGray

Writer, blogger, teacher, reader and lover of words wherever they are. Author of The Eyre Hall Trilogy, the breathtaking sequel to Jane Eyre. Luccia lives in sunny Spain, but her heart's in Victorian London.

6 thoughts on “Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction: Compassion

  1. I like the idea that as a teacher you can plant the seed and let compassion grow. Literature is even more important for its capacity to allow us as readers to step into the lives of others because we are so inundated with media and video games that desensitize us. Thank you for spreading the word on compassion!

    Liked by 1 person

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