I received this text from my daughter.
Oh , something so sad at work happened on Monday. I cried. This old couple who comes in all the time. They are so in love but they aren’t married. Both their spouses have passed away and they were neighbours and fell in love. Anyways, they come in for dates all the time and she always eats grilled cheese with her bright red lipstick that gets all over her teeth and the old man just watches her and loves her so much. Well, he came in on Monday…alone…she passed away. I’m tearing up right now cause it’s so sad. And he ate dinner all alone and told us all about her passing. Then he went to the movies alone. It broke my heart. I just can’t stop thinking about him and how sad he is.”
It’s that “come-along-side-and-imagine-what-it’s-like” feeling. That’s what my daughter was experiencing when she texted me. It’s what millions of people felt as they watched families mourn the loss of loved ones who died on 9/11. It’s what parents feel when their adult children divorce because of an affair. It’s what wives feel when their husbands lose their jobs and what we all feel when we watch loved ones fail.
Empathy. Some people are better at it than others but thankfully, all emotionally healthy people feel it.
We all want to be listened to and to be understood. That’s the work of empathy. It divides the pain and shares the heaviness. It lingers and it enriches the “one another” relationship. It takes our eyes off self.
As my grandson, Phoenie once said, ” Nana, when your eyes leak, so do mine.”
Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15