Today was a rough day.

Not just a rough day. One of those sit-down-and-cry-about-it days. One of those days where you try to do good and nothing (directly) comes of it.

The backlog of phone calls and emails from the holiday weekend was bearable. I probably could have dealt with my neighbor’s dog eating a hole in my fence. I certainly could have dealt, without crying, with my Burger King order coming out as chicken nuggets instead of the chicken fries I wanted. None of this is what truly wrung my spirit around like a wet rag that needed to dry out.

When all is said and done, what truly was my downfall this day was what is also one of my strengths: empathy.

Make no judgments where you have no compassion. - Ann McCaffrey

Let me put it straight: empathy is hard. Not everyone can do it. You’re not a bad person if the deepest way you can connect is sympathy. But, you can try.

When something bad happens to a friend, family member, or neighbor, it’s not time to make a salt-laced point. It’s not time to put a hook in your argument, throw it out there, and see if it sticks. It’s time to try and understand. Understand why there are tears. Understand why there is anger. Understand why there is desperation.

...Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other... - Colossians 3:12-13

Empathy doesn’t mean you have to give up your values. Offering an ear to listen instead of a mouth to argue doesn’t mean you’re a push-over. It means you’re strong. It means you’re willing to show the love of Christ. It means that today, of all days, you’re willing to let your actions make your point instead of a wicked tongue.

I’m not perfect at this. I know there are more days than not that I fail to show the compassion and mercy that is deserved to those around me. So, you and me, let’s agree to try our hardest. Let’s try to be better and just love.