I stay current with the news, but I don’t always discuss it in this medium. Today, I want to do something different, but I want to focus on two things: compassion and empathy. I feel like these two things have been in the middle of some of the main debates that have been waged in Washington throughout the past few years.
Compassion is an awareness of another’s distress and a desire to ease it.
Empathy is when you feel the emotions of the other person to understand their feelings.
I’d like to ask you to take a trip with me. Read my words and try to imagine the feelings in your body.
Imagine you’ve longed for acceptance for a long time. You meet people, but nothing seems to fit. You face judgment and find it difficult to navigate the dating world until you meet someone amazing. This person gets you. They see the wonderful human being you are. They see all your issues. They see all your potential. Despite your hangups, this person loves you and wants to share this journey of life together. You’re in love. You’re overjoyed. You want to shout it from the rooftops.
Life goes on and you share your life. This person sees you through all your happy days and your difficult days. They hold your hand when your parent passes. They listen to all your fears. They dream with you on all your goals. They are by your side when you’re in the hospital facing an illness that requires all of your energy. They selflessly give you support when you are weak. This person stands by your side through some of the toughest moments of your life and loves you when you can’t even love yourself.
Time has passed and you’re both older. You’ve worked all your life and this person has worked all their life. Now, is the time for you to retire and enjoy your old age together. After a few years, your illness weakens you. That same sweet person is by your side until your very last breath. And that person reminds you how much they love you.
You’re gone. The person you loved so much has no say in your funeral proceedings. Your family comes in to the home, you built together, and begins removing things. They are taking things that were purchased for the enjoyment of you and this person. The family may even decided to take possession of the home and that person has to buy a new home or get an apartment while surviving on their pension. None of your finances go to this person. None of your possessions go to this person. The person who stood by your side, has no legal right to your life together once you are gone.
Why is that? You couldn’t marry the person you loved and, therefore, couldn’t protect them in the event of your death. And this is the debate we are having. It’s not about spirituality or immorality. We are discussing a contract. A form of protection for your loved one. If you have any compassion or empathy, can you put yourself in the shoes of someone who is in love, in appreciation and wants to protect their family? That is what we are arguing. It’s not about what is wrong or what is right. I view the question as, should someone be allowed to protect the person they love, their family and conduct their life as they see fit?
My vote is yes. Anything else would be uncivilized.
“Only by examining our personal biases can we truly grow as artists; only by cultivating empathy can we truly grow as people.”
― Jen Knox
“I want my time to be taken up by chores, errands, appointments, and arguments. In other words, I want to get married.” ― Jarod Kintz