Saturday, October 18, 2008

Empathy Etiquette

I don't know if my words will all make sense or portray what I'm really wanting to say and express, but I'm going to give it a try.

After the initial grief and shock of Emma's diagnosis wore off, I began to try and think more logically about things. The question arose, why me? Fortunately, it wasn't an angry why me, it was more of "what am I supposed to learn from this" why me.

There were some obvious answers that came right away, and other answers came within a day or two. However, there was one answer that I did not see right away. I don't even know if Heavenly Father meant for me to learn this either, but it's something that is becoming very apparent. The best way I can put it is empathy etiquette.

I have had numerous people share with me their sweet stories of loss, sorrow, grief, and trials. These stories have helped me in so many ways. More than anything though, I have felt empathy towards and have felt empathy from all of these dear people. My biggest problem, however, has been showing and receiving that empathy.

I don't think there's one right way to show and receive empathy. But I've been practicing my empathy etiquette skills and I'm so grateful for that. While I still never know quite what to say or how to say it, I'm learning more and more about how to express my true love, appreciation, and empathy towards others.

Yet sometimes, I wish there was more I could do or say to let people know how truly grateful I am for them. I am so amazed at the love and support of those around us. I know this doesn't do it justice, but thank you to everyone. You are making this journey so much easier.

4 comments:

Josie said...

Hah- So when I saw the title "empathy etiquette" I totally thought it was going to be a slam down on all the people who say the WRONG things at the WRONG time to people who are trying to overcome adversity...

my favorite was
"Sadness comes from the devil. You should always be happy if you want to be Christlike."

Oh man. Ever read the scripture "Jesus wept"?

Apparently I'm still a tad bitter and could definitely learn from the words you wrote here--thanks for sharing. :)

Tara Belnap said...

Something that came to mind of your asking the "why me?" question and relating it to what you are supposed to learn from this was... think of what you have and can teach from this.

You have taught me so much. My testimony has strengthened each day from praying for you and thinking of you. You have taught me true love of Christ and faith in His plan. And not just with words, but with actions which have a much great impact on me. Thank you.

Eli said...

I just had a similar thought a couple of days ago; sometimes I think we go through trials for the mere fact that after making it through, we can be a huge strength to others going through the same thing. I'm really glad you look for the silver lining. Hang in there.

Stephanie Wood said...

I think of Emma Smith. She had hard trials and lost several of her children but was such a strength to the church especially the sisters. If she could do it the others could to. Her faith was strong and it got her through. so are you t-fanny and your family to.