A strange title, I know. From a child, I had the habit of seeming to absorb the pains of others. One of my early memories is being punished for whispering the answers to another child in my class. I can’t remember what grade it was, but just seeing that person nearly crying because they did not know the answers made me want to help them.
My aunt told me once that I had to not take other people’s pains into my body. She said that I would stay sick if I felt things so deeply. I had no idea what she meant at the time, but she said this after I cried because another person was hurting.
I remember picturing in my mind the pains and hurts of other people as rays, like sun rays, that streamed out of their bodies and into my body. I thought that was the reason I was so susceptible to pneumonia and colds. I finally realized one day the impossibility of that happening, but children’s minds are so malleable.
But, I believe that empathy and the ability to walk in the shoes of others are necessary elements of creating a just society, one in which people come to the aid of fellow citizens. If we cannot feel to some degree the suffering of others, will we eventually lose the ability to be compassionate and caring for people other than our families or ourselves?
I think that children can recognize the pain of others and appreciate how much they hurt mainly because they have not yet been desensitized to the suffering of others that tend to grip us as adults whose lives tend to zigzag from good to bad. The children who step up and help other children suffering because of the enmity of bullies somehow understand that we cannot sit by and watch others suffer and do nothing to alleviate the pain.
I believe that the world cannot become an equal and less painful place unless we all can empathize with the people, irregardless of being told that some people are “different” and therefore not worthy of our sympathy. As someone who was born into poverty, and through the manifest grace of God escaped it, I learned early that being poor was a stain that can take a lifetime to erase in our minds and souls.
As the government shutdown continues and I think of the numbers of people unable to pay bills, mortgages, buy food for their children, my soul cries out for compromise and empathy on both sides. I have lived through moments of hunger and wondering how a bill will get paid, and it steals your joy and challenges your faith in God.
Let us pray together, regardless of our ideology or party affiliation, for the end of this stalemate. It doesn’t matter if you are for the wall or against the wall, pray for the thousands of workers about to hit some very hard financial times. Pray that God will open doors for them to meet their bills, that churches will help out members and non-members, where possible.
Isaiah 58: 6-7 states, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
So, let us give what we can to non-profits in our communities, so they can help the increasing numbers of people who may need help to feed and have shelter for their families. Let us not see this as just a political debate, but also remember the thousands of people just like us who will be stressed and feeling worried about the things we take for granted each day, especially as there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.
I hope that by the time I finish this post that my last sentence may be wrong.
Fandango prompt is Enmity. Word of the Day Challenge is Accomplish. Daily Addictions prompt is Zig-Zag.