I came to this realization a few weeks ago that in order to show more empathy, I need to slow my life down. I figured that if I began to pack less into my schedule then I would be able to more readily notice the needs of other around me.
Strangely, this new revealation set me in a panic, because I don’t know how to slow down. Managing a household with two young children and two working parents is like juggling fine china.
And while multitasking has never come easy to me, over the years I have become quite skilled at this juggling act.
But slowing down, how does one do that?
I started planning fewer outing with the kids. But that led to me planning more projects in the house.
Then my thinking shifted to planning volunteer events for my community. Food drives, helping the elederly… Maybe I could “plan for empathy”?
I was really at a loss …. until last night.
After I put the kids to bed, I was outside foraging for wineberries in my yard (I am kind of quirky) and I decided to call a life long friend from Kentucky.
We hadn’t spoken in nearly 6 months and this converasation was exactly what I needed.
My dear friend has a simple way of life which has a way of teaching me big life lessons.
She began to tell me a story that captivated me. I stopped in my tracks to sit down on my front steps and just listen, while I ate half of the berries and watched the fireflies.
My friend lost her father about a year a half ago. After his passing, she and her mother had to sell their home and downsize to an apartment. Her emotions from the loss of her father, the moving process, and her job situations overcame her one day and she decided to go to the a local mall for a walk.
As she set out on her walk, she explained that Thomas, the dead sea salt salesman, began to solicit her attention.
Initially she was hesitant and maybe even annoyed but she approached and listened to his speal.
As he was showing her his products he noticed that she was upset about something. With tears in her eyes she explained about her recent life events. Then Thomas did something amazing, he discarded his agenda, listened to her, encouraged her, and gave her free products to take home. This was exactly what my dear friend needed at the right time.
Her story continued with the details of her unlikely friendship with Thomas over the last year and half. In that time they have exchanged holiday gifts and conversation whenever my friend visits the mall.
After weeks of praying about how to show more empathy, the answer was completely clear.
Emapthy is about SACRIFICE. Sacrificing our plan and agenda to meet the needs of others.
It has nothing to do with how calm or chaotic my life is. How much I plan.
It can’t be manufactured.
Thomas INTENDED to sell my friend some products but he CHOSE to show empathy.
Empathy means listening for those “heart drops”. Those little comments others make to let you know that they need you.
So now the journey begins…..