Finding Empathy

4thgrade
Aug 11th, 2015 Her first day of fourth grade!

Empathy.

 

I think it’s what happens when we sincerely ask the Lord to please PLEASE save us from ourselves and our tendency to judge.

My daughter is a smart, hard-working pleaser who is also occasionally a little distracted and scattered. Also a great description of her mother at age 9.

My first response when she left her homework folder in her desk at school was a lecture. “Make a plan to get it home! Everyday! Ask yourself everyday if you have what you need. Double check, there’s really no excuses….” But then I see her face,  full of disappointment in herself, and I am suddenly hurled thru time,  right back to the emotions of being in fourth grade and ONCE AGAIN turning in a perfect spelling test without my name on it. Minus 10 points. Again. Nine year old me was wrecked. “Why can’t I remember to do that?!?” I fully relive the frustration and bafflement. How can I get every word correct on every test, yet can’t remember a simple thing like putting my name on my paper?

So I exit that moment in my brain,  return to the present,  and by the grace of God skip the lecture and go with a hug.

Thank you Lord for the ways big and small that you are revealing hypocrisy in my heart and replacing it with grace. It feels Holy and special when it happens.  It does not feel like working to find empathy, it feels like being mysteriously and suddenly gifted it. I think these small moments are just practice, preparing me for the bigger moments, when my judgment of someone is messier and uglier and the grace-filled response costs much more and is harder to find. But I want that chance.

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