1.34 million worldwide. 250,000 in the United States. 11,488 in my state. 139 in my county. They are all gone.
We can have our opinions. We can avoid the reality, but no matter what, these people are all gone. These people were grandparents, fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, friends, coworkers and so much more. Someday when this is all over they will still be gone.
I have been sitting with this a lot the past week. I am grieving. I am mourning. I am aching with pain. My first blog posts I wrote were all about sympathy verses empathy. This topic came from my desire to help people know how to walk with people in pain. I encourage you to go back to read these posts to get the full picture. In sympathy, we avoid and run from the pain. We push our way into the pain without listening, and we try to fix it. We bring sunshine to the situation and force people to realize the good still present. Sympathy tries to explain the pain away.
Empathy sits, observes and listens. Empathy is commonly known as putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. It is more than just a feeling. It is sharing in their pain. Even if you have never experienced the depth of their pain, it is trying to understand where they are or what they need. It may even be admitting you don’t understand, but you are there for them. It is much easier to sympathize because it requires little of us. Empathy forces us to be vulnerable. We have to make space for our own pain, deeply feel our own pain, so that we can enter into this space with others. Our hearts have to break. That is hard work!
From what I have experienced the last 8 months, there is a lack of empathy. The weight of this pandemic is very heavy, and I get it is hard. None of us are functioning at our best. We are often quick to talk and post our strong opinions and thoughts. We avoid the pain and the loss so that we can just live our lives. Can we all stop and breathe for a moment? Can we be still and feel the pain of those directly impacted by Covid-19? I know we all have been impacted, but what about those who forever lost a job, a home…a person? I can’t imagine what it must feel like to watch this world (hearing all the noise from everyone and experiencing the refusal of people to change or care) when you are in the deepest, darkest part of grief.
1.34 million worldwide. 250,000 in the United States. 11,488 in my state. 139 in my county. God calls us to feel their pain. Let us love our neighbor. Let us grieve beside them.