Compassion is something I wouldn’t normally associate with myself. I don’t think of myself as religious. But while writing “The Osgoode Trilogy,” I found out that it is a recurrent theme in all three of my books.
Quoting St. Thomas of Aquinas, he said that “I would rather feel compassion than know the meaning of it.” I think what he meant by that is that it is something felt rather than thought about.
In “Conduct in Question,” my first book in the series, we have a serial killer who has earned the moniker of “The Florist.” He was nicknamed that way because of influences from Matisse when he carved out his victims. You can say he is a killer with an artistic flair.
The publishing world is saturated with books about serial killings. Because of this, I decided to put emphasis on the human touches rather than the details on the killing rampage of the killer. This is shown by the fact that “The Florist” wanted nothing more than to feel it In his frustration, the killer tells his mother, “I know what compassion is, but I can’t feel it.”
At the end of the story, “The Florist” gets exactly what he wants – he experiences something akin to it. He was about to claim his next victim – a church caretaker – but he felt it that he decided to let that person live. At the last minute, he saw the caretaker for what he really was – a simple, sweet man. He thought that life would not be easy for the caretaker. So in a final act of compassion, he spared the caretaker’s life.
Compassion in Many Different Forms
In another book, “Final Paradox,” Harry Jenkins realizes that it is all about empathy. This is something easier said than done. When Harry was young, his father left him and his family. His father gave up on them and was not able to get over the death of his daughter.
Fast-forward to the present, Harry is in a hospital waiting for his father who was undergoing an operation for a brain aneurysm. He was thinking of how his father abandoned him all those years ago. But then, he heard an agonizing cry coming from an old woman who was beside herself with grief after learning the death of a loved one. It was at that moment that Harry realized that one can never underestimate grief. He began to understand what his father experienced all those years ago, when he lost his child.
At that point, Harry finally understood his father and felt compassion for him. You can only feel it by feeling another person’s suffering as if it was your own.
In the book “A Trial of One,” Harry’s girlfriend, Natasha, is going through a somewhat similar dilemma. She has to choose between two people – Harry or Sheila. Natasha is always full of compassion, which is why being made to choose between Harry and Sheila was not an easy decision to make. Because of Natasha’s indecision, Sheila felt hurt and betrayed Natasha.
Natasha took a walk to think things over and the compassion she felt for Sheila paled in comparison to her feelings for Harry. She is now considering her next steps now that she realized that the feelings she felt for Sheila will not be reciprocated.
Natasha knew that Harry was the one for her, but she still felt something for Sheila because she understood where her hurt is coming from. She knows that she should always act with it.
When deciding who to choose, Natasha knows that aside from rational thinking, she should also use hers. But it can be tough, having to choose between passion and compassion.