I just finished reading the amazing book ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ by Betty Smith. It was written in 1943 and follows the story of a young girl growing up in the slums of Brooklyn in the 1920s. I stumbled across it in my ongoing search to find books as equally good/meaningful/moving as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, which I read way too late in life. Anyway, I just wanted to share a quote from the book that struck a chord with me.
The author is describing how children were searched for head lice by the teacher and if found to be infected, how they were tormented by their peers. She then writes:
It might be that the infected child would be given a clean bill next examination. In that case, she, in turn, would torment those found guilty, forgetting her own hurt at being tormented. They learned no compassion from their own anguish. Thus their suffering was wasted.
The word compassion means a lot to me—it’s something I aspire to and admire in others. So I thought this was a great little reminder that even in the awful negativity of anguish and suffering you can still find a positive. Suffering is not wasted.