The True Empathetic Heart… Hmmm what does that mean? So many of us can relate to so many stories we hear and that others experience in our own lives; but yet at the same time so many of us are completely unable to even slightly relate to or understand the challenges or pain of another.
So when you can’t relate to someone else’s situation or suffering, what do you do? Stop listening? Ignore? Walk away? Nod your head, hoping they would just shut up? Prejudge them? Talk about them behind their back? (He or She is so lazy! He or She needs to get a job! What does he or she want me to do? Or say to yourself, Oh my god the drama!) Really what do you do?
Now you look at me and say: What do you suggest I do? Ok, I will gladly help you with that… How about this, for starters... CARE about what they have to say! Really be a good, no a great listener! Ask questions about things you don’t understand! Tell them that you don’t understand and that you want to understand! Let your compassion show in your questions…
Empathy is one of the major building blocks of true heart-felt generosity -it really helps if you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes when they are suffering, when they are hungry, when they are emotionally drained and exhausted. Why? ...it helps you better understand their perspective in their situation and it helps you better understand their needs.
Without the empathy of truly having "been there -done that" people tend to NOT help those in need. It's sadly true. Most everyone knows a neighbor or a friend or a family member who is going through a horrific storm of issues that leave that person hungry, in pain and feeling forgotten. And so many who can do something; often do nothing, simply because they have no clue what's really going on. They can't relate to it, so many dismiss it.
Can you relate these situations?
-I burned my hand on a hot pot handle… Oh my god it hurt for so long… You can relate to that right.
-I was walking through my living room.. And I stubbed my toe on the couch leg, the pain radiated through my body.. Something else you can relate to.
Now try to relate to these situations?
-Looking at my wife pretty much dying as she weakens, 2 times the hospital called me and said she may not make it through the night. WHILE I was working nights and taking care of the 3 of our 5 kids who were still living at home, all on my own… Can you relate to that?
-How about this one? “Dad there’s no food in the house!” I say, “I am so sorry. I know, but rent is due and me and mommy have to figure out what we can afford to buy, please have patience… we’ll get something…” This is a regular conversation after welfare money is gone 10-12 days into the month. HUNGER! Can you really relate to it?
-Kids to me and Chrissy, “Why don’t we ever do anything, go out? See a movie? Go to the mall?” Well this is a can of worms… “Mommy sleeps all day because she works all night (even while still having cancer), because daddy had a stroke and his left side remains numb while his eyes get worse. I promise one day we will…” Can you relate to that?
HOPE this opens the eyes to those who use to never have any idea; maybe now you can talk to them with a True Empathetic Heart…
And His Most Blessed Mother,
Jim (The Rosary Man) Dacey Jr OFS