Two weeks ago, I authored a post about empathy. I was very pleased to learn that my post had touched, apparently quite deeply, a very dear friend of mine. I’m honored that this friend then chose to reach out to me and share some of the more moving and even traumatic examples of empathic perception from their life. I got the impression that some of them had never been discussed before, with anyone, and I was very moved to be chosen as a sounding board.
My friend has a special gift, which is inevitably seen occasionally as a curse; a sensitivity to strong emotion and its manifestations in others is how I could best describe it, at least in part. To look into another’s eyes and know that they’re afraid to go home, and even to know why (not culled from a cited example). I’ll never name or even hint at this person’s identity, and even as I write this, I know that I’ll seek their approval before posting this article, but I want them to know how grateful I am to them for opening my eyes just a bit more to the magnificent potential and capacity of the human heart.
Barring this one, wonderful case, the concepts of compassion and empathy seem sometimes to have been lost in today’s society, or worse yet, voluntarily surrendered. It is at our very core to feel what others feel. Indeed, it is the origin of our understanding of right versus wrong; “how will my actions or inaction effect others?” Is that not the “Golden Rule” on which we were all raised?
I love my family and my friends. I feel their love for me, and I reflect it back a thousand-fold at every opportunity. But today, as the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision to legally recognize same-sex marriages nationwide, I feel walls going up and sides being taken throughout social media. Rights and wrongs and sanctities and privileges and church and state and chest-pounding and sabre-rattling echoing across the land and the ‘net.
I’m not a political person, and I have promised not to use this forum as a political soapbox. What I believe in is very, very simple and as essential and as inevitable as life itself:
I believe in Love.
Love exists without judgment, condemnation, or criticism. Love simply IS. If you can’t FEEL it; if you can’t feel the rightness and the perfection of LOVE in all those around you; if you’ve set aside your capacity to feel everyone else’s love and to wallow in the wonder of it; if you’ve decided that there should be a limit to the only real power in all of creation, then I’m sorry for you. I still love you, and I always will, but you have sacrificed something that is irreplaceable. Something so completely essential to existence that life without it is simply impossible.
I believe in Love. I honor Love. And I love you, even if you disagree with me.
“And still, after all this time,
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe Me.”
Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.”