Scripture Verse of the Day

Monday, February 8, 2016

Wearing Another's Heart on My Sleeve

Do you cry at movies?  Do you cry when you see or hear another person cry?  Do sad faces or voices affect you?  How about anger?  Joy or happiness?  What about uncertainty?  Do you feel their emotions, too? 

I've been told that I'm a rather empathetic person.  Not just sympathetic, but empathetic.  Pretty pathetic, huh?  I must say that I struggle with accepting my empathetic nature.  It is evidently a huge part of who I am.  In some ways, empathy can be quite helpful in relating with others.  In other ways, however, I see it as rather crippling trait for me and henders whatever help I might have been able to offer.
   
My church is richly blessed with Christians who are passionate about their faith.  These Christians not only talk the talk, they walk the walk.  These Christians can be better teachers that the preacher, and I happen to believe that our pastor is an amazing preacher!  Of our congregation, we have glorious members who make up our older generations.  These ladies and gentlemen are exemplary Christians ~ not only for Christ, but for themselves, their families, and out in their communities.  Many of us want to be just like them when we finish growing up.

There is one older couple, in particular, that I've had the extreme pleasure and honor to be in their company and get to know better than the others.  This couple has served tirelessly as teachers and instructors of history and the Bible, and they are so full of knowledge, love, and grace.  My Bible study group was particularly blessed in having this gentleman be our Bible study teacher  for quite a few years.  He officially retired a month or so ago, and we felt a compelling need to honor them with a special celebration luncheon.

The lunch was wonderful.  Then came time to share what we felt is so special about them ~ making sure they know how much we appreciate them.   I am telling you, these are some of the sweetest people you can ever get to know.  Our gentleman is a rare man who speaks with emotion ~ his heart is very frequently on his sleeve.  Over the years, he taught his lessons appropriately with his life experiences.  His tales enabled us to see a focus that went beyond the words on the pages of the lessons.  Among his experiences, he has blessed us with occasional glimpses into the true love he feels for his precious wife.  THESE particular displays of love are what endear him to us. What an example they are!  One of the stories remembered by us is a very early story in their relationship in which she was so sick that he thought he may lose her.  He has told and retold this memory so vividly that one could not help but believe we are first-hand witnesses to the power of faith in action.  He told the story again at this luncheon. Once again, *I'm* in tears.  I had to excuse myself for a bit because *I* was overwhelmed.  It is not that I did not want to hear the story again, but his heart is so tender and so sweet and so precious that I fail to understand what it is doing on MY sleeve!  It goes beyond the "acceptable" dab my teary eyes and continue listening.   It is so obvious that I do not have command of my own emotions.  How is it that I tend to take on others' emotions, as well?

"Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."
~~Romans 12:15~~

I guess there is nothing wrong with me, but I cannot help but believe that sometimes my (??) emotions get away from me.  I feel like that, anyway.  I would not mind being more like Counselor Deanna Troi (Star Trek, The Next Generation), an empath who is able to feel and/or understand emotions of others without being so directly and personally affected.   There are some people who seem to be like that, but it's obvious I'm not one of them.  I guess it is too much to ask to be like a more fictional character??  ((I have hoped and prayed such, believe it or not))
  
Sometimes it does not have to be about a person around me who opens the teary flood gates.  Singing certain songs or hymns can be awfully overwhelming for me, as well.  Personalizing meaning either for myself or another person can do the same thing to me.

"Jesus wept."
~~John 11:35~~

Why did Jesus weep? Was it because Lazarus died?  I believe that may only be part of it. I believe that Jesus wept because he had compassion over the sisters who did not understand Him and what He can do.  I do not have the powers that Jesus has, but at least I believe Jesus had empathy towards the sisters' perceived loss.  Just as I believe He expresses joy when we experience joy, I believe that Jesus weeps for each one of us when we feel like failures or are otherwise inadequate in one way or another.  Through our iniquities, He is made strong.  He is our grace.  Our hearts are on His sleeve.   I need to learn HOW to let others' hearts be on mine.  

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