Anyone who has known me for awhile knows I am passionate about compassion, intentive when it comes to acceptance, and a champion of mercy. I believe each is a cornerstone of real living. They provide the paths for one to experience the best of humanity, touch the intimate, and be in relationship with Divinity. My belief and faith in these principles, crossing all time, cultures, and situations, has not and is not weakening.
Yet I sense there is something more. During the past year experience has revealed the missing element of the equation. It is, from understanding which comes from going through the path, empathy. We must feel what others feel if we are to be alive. We must suffer when others suffer. Tears will come as we walk along side, sharing burdens and holding onto Hope together.
This missing piece isn’t a casual tear shed at the end of a movie or in a sugar coated moment. This is the experience documented by one writer years ago; “Towns Heshbon and Elealeh cry long and loud. The sound carries as far as Jahaz. Moab sobs, shaking in grief. The soul of Moab trembles. Oh, how I grieve for Moab! Refugees stream to Zoar and then on to Eglath-shelishiyah. Up the slopes of Luhith they weep; on the road to Horonaim they cry their loss.” (Isaiah 15.4, 5) It is the tear in the heart when your son is my son, your daughter my daughter, and your heartache is one with mine.
It is in and through empathy that compassion finds its birth. It is when we walk or stand in solidarity with another that acceptance is realized. It is in moments of understanding and forgiveness that empathy flows as never before. Each step and action filled with love directly from God. Ironically some will suggest that this approach is cheap and wimpy. Quite the contrary! Empathy accepts – fully, completely, and with accountability – what is. Empathy says we are all equal. Empathy comes from and returns to God. Empathy is as critical as the sun this morning.
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