Dangerous Compassions



“Yes, you should carry that bag that has your first aid stuff in it,” I said.  Ming was about to leave on a hike with two elder friends.  He was figuring out what to bring.

“But it’s so heavy, it hurts your body to carry,” I continued.  “That’s not good to hurt your body, in order to care for someone else’s body if they get hurt.”

Ming picked up his black bag and put it on.  Yes, the bag is busting its zippers.

“You stuff every bag until it’s full, and then you get another one.  That’s stupid,” I continued.  Then I realized I sounded mean.  Yes, the word stupid was too much.  “I notice because I do the same things–I stuff every bag I have too.  I’m sorry.   I love you.”

“You’re right,” he said.

“Thank you for having compassion with my lack of compassion,” I said.

We giggled, and Ming kissed me.

“I have compassion for your lack of compassion,” he said.  “I love you.”


We are in touch with our values.  We tell the truth to each other and mostly maintain a good attitude.  That conversation was in the context of a difficult morning.

I submit it to you because it’s real, but also to say that trust is a big part of how relationships work or don’t work.  Ming and I are direct about everything as well as we can be, especially with one another.

How much truth can I tell?  How much truth can I bear to receive?


Ming trusts me that I love him and I’m a good person.  And I trust Ming that he loves me and is a good person.  That means we’re both safe to make mistakes.

Telling the truth is risky business.  We risk hurting each other every day.  Every person’s tolerance is different.  After 13 years or so, Ming and I know each other well.  But of course we’re always changing.

questions for discussion

Did you ever tell your partner they were doing something stupid?

Are you most annoyed by other people when they do silly things that you also do?

Are you good at trust?

If you carry a bag, is it always stuffed?

How much are you changing?

What’s your tolerance for truth?

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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