Steady in the Storm, Chapter Thirteen: The Vastness of Empathy
“This process of exposing your hurts and pains is so vulnerable it’s nearly unthinkable to consider. When we do though, we expose our story, and we find people who have been there before. Once you find that empathy, you wonder how you could have ever gotten through without it.”
In the middle of the storm I was desperate for resources. I asked everyone I knew; friends, physicians, counsellors, pastors, the internet and family members for books, podcasts, others who had walked through this or even for them to tell me pieces of their own story, something I could hear to know that I wasn’t alone in what I was experiencing.
Sharing our stories, understanding each other’s pain and learning that our pain and brokenness is not an isolated experience can help us to soften the blow our realities. It puts our story in the midst of other’s stories and allows us to fight together. Knowing someone else has been where you currently are can give you the strength to face what you are going through.
I don’t have it all figured out, to be honest with you, I still feel like a rather large mess, telling myself on a fairly regular occasion, “Who am I to write a book to help others when I am still in need of so much help?” People quote my book back to me and I often feel stupid for giving the advice I need to hear myself in that moment. I have such a long way to go.
This journey of life is hard, and we will continue to journey it every day we take in breath. This means that our challenges, our struggles and our victories will be an ebb and flow for our entire lives. I see small victories, but I more often feel the struggles. The reason I ended up publishing my story is because I felt others could benefit from the empathy that it could bring. Don’t worry, I’ve been there too. I’ve also been a total mess, allowed my emotions to run my life, questioned every choice I’ve ever made or regret not making, and trusted that Jesus was guiding me while I was simultaneously telling him to take a long walk of a short pier.
If you’ve found my blog or book I hope you can read it and know that I’m still figuring this out too. Lots of times I want to quit, some days I do, some days I keep pressing on.
There is one thing I know for certain, most days anyway, God thrives in empathy. We hear the Christian story of God sending his son for our sins and we then interpret the whole world based on those who are being judged for their sin and those who are saved from their sin and suddenly the heart of the father is lost. The story is so much bigger than that! The sacrifice of Jesus has removed the barrier of sin between us and God. It allows God to draw near to us whether we are broken or saved. It allows God to consume us in his empathy and grace.
While on the cross Jesus endured every sin of the world, therefore he has experienced every pain, every heartbreak, every brokenness, every death, every-everything. He knows better than anyone what you are going through, and he wants to draw near to you and tell you he knows your pain. He wants to be your empathy, your grace and your love. Without this, I would never have been able to get through the storm.
I hope you read my book, and not because I’m looking to be a best seller, but because I hope it leads you to receive empathy. I hope it leads you to an understanding of the heart of God. I hope that it brings you to a place where you can know that you are not alone.
I’m not perfect, I’m still learning, but I want to learn together. I’d love to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out through email or social media.