A long while back, I sat at a Dairy Queen in Cave Creek, Az. I was three booths in, the spot my friends and I liked to sit. I sat quietly eating my Butterfinger Blizzard, because DQ Butterfinger Blizzards were divinely inspired and handed to mankind from God in yellowish orange wrapper. I looked at my friend who was living sin, for he had chosen an M&M Blizzard in full knowledge of the blessed BFB.
“I think I might be a psychopath,” I say nonchalantly. My friend stops mid-bite and replaces his spoon. This statement was obviously deemed concerning enough for him to not have a mouth full of Blizzard in the off chance he had to run away screaming.
“What makes you think that?” He asks.
“I don’t feel any emotions,” I say. He looked at me funny and then promptly returned to his Blizzard judging this not an axe murdering kind of situation.
This sense of no emotions haunted me for a long time. I decided that it was just who I was and made decisions based on reason. Love was a logical conclusion, not an outpouring from the heart. It was the heartbeat of my son that burst through my emotional walls and allowed me to peek through to the other side. Then I had my two girls. As soon as one would cry the other would instantly start to cry. They were so in tune with each other and had so much empathy for each other that they could not stand the other one hurting. It boggled my brain, but was also kind of cool.
I had continued to work on this inside of me, but have not been particularly fruitful. I think I’m in the midst of a breakthrough through. I began reading a book on the brain science of focus. The book took a strange turn to empathy. As I’m reading the book, I realized it wasn’t that I didn’t feel emotions. I struggled with empathy. Empathy is a type of focus that allows us to tune into another person. There are lots of factors that go into empathy, like how much do I like the person, how much risk is there if I help this person? I was one of the men who passed by the robbed and injured man who the Good Samaritan helped. These fears became barriers inside of me that kept me separated from others so I would not be hurt. I was safe, nothing could happen to me behind my walls.
Except…nothing happened to me behind my walls.
As I have watched my girls grow, I have seen the importance of empathy. They have such big hearts and care so much for others. I look at them and realize that empathy is a sort of rare gem in this world. Though I don’t have it in abundance, I do see that it is of critical importance to fulfill our Great Commission.