Empathy

empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner

Sometimes I am quite thankful for the empathy that I have for the situations around me. Though I get frustrated at times, and often feel helpless, my heart pushes me to carry on and look for solutions. It is part of what drives me to advocate for hospitalized children, to pray with and for adopting couples, and to search for better ways to care for orphans.

But sometimes empathy gets the better of me. Our daughter is a missionary serving in east Asia. She has served there for six years and is just concluding two years stateside to earn a degree in bookkeeping/accounting. While in Salisbury she was active in the church through youth ministry, Bible studies, co-leading VBS, simply being available to families needing an extra set of hands. Friends graciously gave her a room to call her own — rough life on the river, eh, Anna?

God in His incredible goodness to our family allowed for three nephews to be born while Anna was in-country. All in the same town. Does it get any better than that? She had hours of time with these little boys — the oldest one turning two next month. You can imagine how hearts were knit together over these two years, and a growing love for her own twin sister.

And so today she leaves Salisbury…with one last opportunity to serve. She is accompanying a young mom and her three children via car to St. Louis where they will meet the young dad driving the moving truck to begin life there as a seminary student. Anna will fly to Asia from there at the end of the week.

She is following God’s call on her life. Just as we have by serving in Ukraine.

So why am I crying? Why have my tears soaked my pillow for the last two nights? Why can’t I type this without crying? Well, I totally know the feelings she will be experiencing as she drives away and attempts to memorize every detail of those little faces seeing her off, not understanding that she won’t be back for months, maybe years. Tears will be freely overflowing. Not just hers, but those whose lives she touched. And especially two young moms who loved sharing their little ones with Aunt Anna.

Empathy. Love it. Hate it.

Love you, Anna. And praying for you.

Comments

  1. Marianna, your empathy for others is one of the many reasons I love you so much. Thank you for instilling empathy into the lives of our children.

  2. Pamela wintjen says:

    Reading this post after completing my 8 overnight hours; my tears join yours, touched by all the emotions you must be feeling. What brings me some comfort is not only does your family know His divine love, but also share such love with each other. What a beautiful and rich example you all are in following the path God has laid b4 your family. So along with the tears is a hint of a smile for me. Saying a prayer for all your family as you all continue your journey. May He continue to bless all of you. HUGGS.

    • Thank you so much for your continued prayers! Thankful for God’s abundant grace in our
      Iives…amazing that he would use even our family as instruments in His hands as part of His glorious plan!

  3. I’m with you, very mixed emotions…. I’m excited for Anna and the wonderful opportunities that the Lord reveals for His own glory making her a powerful instrument. And I myself embrace changes that life brings and get excited about the unknown and the journey ahead of me, new people I get to meet. I’m sure Anna feels that way too. But on the other hand, it’s heartbreaking. It is so so hard to leave the loved ones behind. Been there, done that.
    It was so hard to let her go. But on the bright side – it’s not forever! And what always gets me going through those hard times of longing to be with loved ones is – well, skype, of course, but also looking forward to a day we’ll get together. And this day is coming. For now we can appreciate and love on the dear ones by our side. Praying for you. All of us.

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