Thursday, September 15, 2011


Although preachers exhort us to empathize with others, the trouble with empathy is that it hurts: you have to feel the pain that others feel, even if only vicariously.  When your heart goes out to someone in pain, you hurt too.

Which is to suggest that empathy requires courage, the courage to soften your heart and make it vulnerable to the suffering of others, resonating vicariously with their agony and loss and grief, carrying their burdens in your own aching heart.

No wonder that real empathy is rare.