The Empathy Journey

beauty beyond brokenness

I prayed for wisdom and got sorrow instead.
Funny after all these years to finally realize
she was the best gift God could have given me at the time.
She followed me around like a puppy dog,
only she walked too slow and didn’t know how to play.
And believe me, she wasn’t cute or small …
She was nice enough, but I always felt like she was weighing me down with her lumbering gait …
I’m not sure why I didn’t have the heart to shake her off –
something in me felt the need to wait …
and wait and wait and wait, as patiently as I could
for her to catch up.
The thought of leaving her behind felt like an amputation –
I couldn’t abandon her,
but I loathed her at the same time …
I lamented missing all the fun because
by the time we got anywhere, the party was over,
or when we’d finally arrive, she weighed down the room,
and the crowd quickly dispersed …
Again and again, I was left alone with only her burdensome presence by my side.
So I finally surrendered and let her choose our path …
This is when the miracles started to happen –
She led me beside silent waters, sparkling and clean –
to quiet places of beauty I could have never found if I had stayed with the crowd.
She showed me natural wonders that whispered wake-up calls into the depths of my soul …
I started to trust her, and she never stopped amazing me.
I inched behind her up the skinniest, steepest trails I’d ever seen,
risking everything along stone-edged cliffs because it was worth it.
The views were pristine –
Majestic ravines of unspeakable purity energized something at the core of my being …
something essential that had been waiting patiently inside me for a very long time.
She led me into pitch black caverns, where there was nothing to do but pray
and learn to love the silence with her by my side.
In her own somber, winding way, she taught me to slow down and forgive, to let go –
to love more deeply from afar than I ever could up close-
She gave me space to make sense of things that had always troubled my soul,
which were the reasons I’d prayed for wisdom in the first place, all those years ago …

Even now, she calls me further along the treacherous winding road, and
and I will gladly follow her into the abyss of majesty, mercy and wonder,
wherever she leads.

The funny thing is now I’m the slow dog lumbering in sweetsad kindess,
looking up with peace-filled puppy dog eyes,
welcoming others to join me on the journey to the depths of reverence.
My heart smiles playfully,
imagining they probably think I’m just sadness.

Related scripture
John 16:20: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.”

Reflection
Do you create space in your life to embrace the fullness of your emotional experiences? Or, do you find yourself doing anything to avoid feeling painful emotions in yourself and others? Can you make more room to open your heart to the fullness of empathy and compassion, in order to create a more authentic spiritual connection to God? It’s worth it, I promise!

Prayer
God bless anyone reading this to have the courage to embrace the fullness of their emotions on their journey toward authentic spirituality. Help us to avoid the temptation to skim through life on the surface level, missing the joys found in a deeper relationship with self, God and others.

Action Step
Take some time to read the psalms, and journal about the ways you can relate the feelings expressed in your own journey of faith. Did you know even Jesus read the Psalms in His youth? A life of faith isn’t easy, but it is worth it for the depth of peace Christ brings to the fullness of our human experience.

 

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