Sure is going to be a rainy day in Georgia. Last night the rain and wind beat at our windows and doors and it's still beating as I sit down to write this. My coffee is hot and I don't have to go anywhere until later, but my neck aches as it holds onto to stress I'm feeling for worried friends. Friends, who I believe, have too much on their plate. However, I'm not the one dishing things out, so my opinion doesn't count.
When I have worried friends, my mind constantly goes to imagining how they feel, what they're thinking, how they keep putting one foot in front of the other.
I go to sleep with their concerns on my lips as I ask God to do something. Every story of heartache brings their pain to mind. And, this morning, the rain doesn't help.
The first time I heard the word "empathy", I was standing at the counter of the Woolworth's store in Oak Ridge, TN with Mama and I was elementary school age. Mama was telling me that earlier that day, with a group of her friends, one said to her that Mama was the most empathetic person they'd ever known. Mama then said, she didn't know what empathy meant. She said they explained it was the ability to feel anothers feelings. Not like sympathy, but put yourself in their place.
I don't know why I remember that so clearly, except it resonated in me. I think it put a definition on a part of me which I'd identified, but not understood.
We are all so different - I'm not a very sympathetic person, I don't feel sorry for people much. I just don't. However, I do think I can tap into how others are feeling. I know I use that in writing and that's what makes it feel like a gift.
But this morning, it doesn't feel like a gift, so I have to remember and lean in to the knowledge that God doesn't bestow his traits to us on a whim.
"Being made in his image" doesn't feel like a throw away line.