An acquaintance's mother died recently and I sent her my condolences on Facebook. When I ran into her a few weeks later at our monthly food coop pick-up I had forgotten about it, chit-chatting, going busily about the coop business of unloading the pallet, distributing orders, and weighing out produce. Bye, see you next time.
Then I came home and it hit me that I had completely forgotten to express my compassion for her mother's passing. Shallow living. Oh, dear. I'm so busy, we're all so busy. All I was focused on was to complete my coop business and get on with all the other items on the to-do list for that day. I felt guilty.
I like it when people show me compassion and understanding. As a matter of fact, my morning was fantastic because customer service people at two large organizations I needed to speak to were so incredibly helpful and personable - something that is rare and that I don't expect. The feel-good energy radiated out for several hours and improved my mood so much.
On an intellectual level I totally understand that compassionate behavior needs to be reciprocal. If I want empathy and understanding I need to sow it. I guess there is always a next time.