Next to love, sympathy is the divinest passion of the human heart—Edmund Burke
A couple of weeks ago, I fractured my foot. So I hobbled around with a cane for several days. What was pleasant about this otherwise painful experience was the way I was treated by everyone. People opened doors for me, helped me into cabs, and gave me room in elevators. Their consideration made it a temptation to keep the cane longer than I needed. My spirit blossomed under this kind public treatment. Yet, the moment I laid aside this symbol of deficiency, people reverted to their old pushing, jostling selves. And it occurred to me that everybody has some sort of broken bone somewhere, even if it cannot be seen. Not physical bones, of course, but emotional ones that are just as frail and tender.
There have been many days when I needed more consideration than on the days I carried a cane: when my mind was troubled and my emotions churned, and no one knew or cared. The little broken bone was minor, but it opened a floodgate of human sympathy. It could be a fruitful experience for us to take a day off, once in a while and treat every person we meet as if his foot were hurt.
— Sydney Harris
When my arms cannot reach people who are close to my heart, I always hug them with my prayer.