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.