Friday, January 15, 2010
Empathy or Sympathy?
"...I'm holding out my only candle, but it's so little light to find my way..." ~Jackson Browne, "Song for Adam"~
Ecclesiastes 7:3 "Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better." (KJV)
I don't think by this verse, the writer (Solomon?) meant that I am to be sad all the time. My thoughts are that he meant that when I am sad, I empathize with others, that I can feel their pain. Ok, this is just my interpretation, so I could be wrong.
For some reason I'm very deeply affected by several events (among others) going on right now which are not in the direct circle of my life. One is the tragedy of the earthquake in Haiti. The other is that one of my friends is doing what he can to find a home for his mother's cat a home. His mother recently died and he's unemployed. The two events have nothing to do with each other, but for some reason I feel them deeply.
I have the disability of manic-depression and one of the characteristics of it is that I have the ability to see more than one side of a situation. I've written about it before - it's like a heightened perception. I have always perceived others' sadness or pain as a part of myself - I can feel it. I feel especially powerless since I can only pray for the situation in Haiti. But, for my friend's cat, I've been checking as many resources as I know of to see about finding the kitty a home.
Today, I think my lesson is that I can only do what I can. If all I can do is pray, then this is the job God has given me to do. I accept that.