It was a very long time before I discovered there was a kind of person called an empath, who took on board other people’s emotions, often bodily. It was also a very long time before I found the term HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). Both these terms have helped me to have a deeper understanding and compassion on the way that I am. Before this validation, I always felt I was odd, stupid, too sensitive and emotional, ridiculous even. But now I know that there are lots of others like me who are attuned to feelings and emotional atmosphere, to the crack of heartbreak in the air, to the words not spoken, to the fear in a look or an almost unseen tremble, who cry easily and painfully for their own wounds and those of others. HSP validation has helped me with who I am in Christ. And this gift (for such it is) has helped me to be a better writer and artist, a better poet, and I hope, a better lover of God. For empathy, love and understanding are linked to creativity and imagination.
Easter Saturday is a good day to indulge those gifts and those tears, and imagine myself sitting in the garden outside Jesus’ tomb, or with the women who loved him, or with the men who had been scattered, each one confused and grieving. The knowledge they will have tomorrow is ours but not yet theirs, and sometimes empathy asks us to sit in the garden with those who do not yet know what we do, and feel their pain.
text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017, photo from Pixabay
N.B. I’ll be having a day of rest for Easter Sunday. On Monday we’ll be looking back at what we’ve learnt about empathy over the Lenten period, and then we’ll be going back to contemplative photography to go with learning about different ways of seeing. Happy Easter!