Phoenie had commented on the black clouds quickly moving past our front window last night.
When Chris looked out, he realized that our neighbour’s barn was on fire. We ran outside, down the winding road and through the field, only to see intense flames filling the sky and fire trucks lining the road. The horses were restless, pacing back and forth in the fields. The barn was engulfed with flames and the heat that was generated from the inferno was overwhelming. There was nothing that anyone could do until the tankers brought water. Eventually, they arrived and the fire fighters were able to contain the damage. But this beautiful, historical barn, built in 1824, was gone. Years of loving, respectful preservation – gone.
We all stood quietly, grasping for the security of loved one’s hands and shoulders. We all felt such a sense of helplessness and the terrible ache of loss. Groaning sighs filled the air. Tears filled our eyes.
The body language of those who surrounded the farmer spoke of overwhelming grief. It was a solemn moment.
All of a sudden, I felt a little hand pulling my shirt. His little voice broke the silence.
“Nana, this makes me sad. Can we pray?”
Phoenie wanted to talk to God so we excused ourselves from the crowd and walked back to the path. Phoenie put his little hands together and told me to close my eyes.
“Dear God, I feel sad. Help the farmer. Save the animals. Maybe build them a new barn. Amen.”
We opened our eyes and Phoenie said, “everyone will feel a little better tomorrow.” Phoenie jumped on my back and we headed home. He climbed into bed but fifteen minutes later, he came downstairs, crawled on Papak’s lap and snuggled in.
I can’t sleep yet. I’m still sad.” he quietly said. So, the three of us sat together in the dark for a few minutes. Then he scooted off to his bed and fell asleep.
To show empathy is to identify with another person’s feelings. How wonderful it is to be able to come along side another person and feel with them. How beautiful it is when a child feels genuine sadness for another. Romans 12:15 tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Phoenie was mourning.
…Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5b
This morning, I made a big lasagna and brought it to the farmer’s house. No need to talk. No need to ask any questions. There’s just the need to “feel with” and be present.