The simple definition of empathy in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is the feeling that you can understand and share another person’s experiences of joy, sorrow, and needs from their perspective. Life moves so quickly nowadays and is constantly creating the ongoing challenges of success, failure, happiness, and sadness each and every day for absolutely everyone. To be blessed with the ability to understand and share those feelings in others is truly a very special gift, a way to assist them in times of need, to celebrate with them in times of joy, and then to know in return that they will also always be there for us, each and every day.
Today, I would like to pass on just a few examples of empathy that have been shared by others, and that we can all think about for a few moments, chuckle or ponder on a little, and then realize just how simple it really is for all of us to continue to reach out to others in a very special and caring and compassionate way.
* Today, in the cutest voice, his eight-year-old daughter asked him to start recycling. Then when he chuckled and asked her why she replied, ‘So you can help me save the planet.’ When he asked her why she wanted to save the planet, she boldly replied, ‘Because that’s where I keep all my stuff.’
*Today when they witnessed a 27-year old breast cancer patient laughing hysterically at her two-year-old daughter’s antics, they suddenly realized that maybe they needed to stop complaining about their lives and start celebrating again.
*Today after a 72-hour shift at the fire station, the weary fireman was picking up a few groceries on the way home when a woman ran up and gave him a great big hug. He tensed up just a little when he didn’t recognize her, but then she let go with tears of joy in her eyes and with the most sincere smile she expressed… ‘On 9-11-2001, you carried me safely out of the World Trade Centre.”
*Recently a well-to-do gentleman was travelling in Kenya and met a refugee from Zimbabwe. He looked very pale, extremely skinny, and unhealthy, and when he explained that he hadn’t eaten in three days, the kindly traveller offered him the rest of the sandwich he was eating. The very first thing that the poor refugee expressed was, ‘We can share it together.’
*Many of us get aggravated because there are never enough handicapped parking stalls near the front entrances of stores, theatres and other public services. In many cases, these spots are used by people who don’t really need them, but in exception to that I have seen several big malls who have had the courtesy of kindly adding several parking stalls designated for mothers shopping with children and for expectant mothers.
*I am a college student and yesterday a boy in a wheelchair saw me desperately struggling with a new set of crutches for my recently broken leg. He wheeled over and kindly offered to carry my backpack and books, helped me all the way across campus to my class, and as he was leaving he expressed, “I hope you feel better soon.”
*Today he watched his dog get run over by a car. He was sitting on the side of the road holding his pet in his arms and crying, and just before dog died he licked the tears off his master’s face.
*She woke up at 7 a.m. feeling ill, but needed the money and had to go to work, where she got laid off at 3 p.m., got a flat tire on the way home and discovered she had no jack, and then a man in a BMW pulled over, offered her a ride home, they chatted, he offered her a job, and she started the next morning.
Let us always remember that the best sermons are lived, not preached, so do your best, share the rest, and have a great, hot and sunny week, all of you..