The Golden Rule – Religious Media Weblog

(by Nancy Joie Wilkie, Faraway and Forever—More Stories)

The third story in Faraway and Eternally … “Half The Sky” … is a couple of teenage lady simply previous to her eighteenth birthday … and who has been estranged from her dad and mom for her complete life … and he or she doesn’t know why.  After believing she may be an orphan, she is instructed that one or each of her dad and mom may truly nonetheless be alive.  So within the last week on the Abbey the place she has lived for seventeen of her eighteen years, she units off to find why her father or mother, or dad and mom, would have left her within the care of the Sisterhood so way back.

Folks may ask why I wrote this story.  And right here is the painful fact.  I have been estranged from my daughter for extra years than I care to rely … all due to a very horrible divorce … one you may hear about on the information or examine in a well-liked journal.  How the scenario happened isn’t what’s vital right here.  What’s vital is how I’ve tried to resolve the estrangement.

Lately I’ve been occupied with what kind of message I would ship to my daughter on her upcoming birthday.  Typically concepts for my letter come to me from a track or a poem, generally an concept comes from a dialog with a pal.  This yr, an concept cropped up whereas listening to a sermon from my great pastor.  The verse she preached on was Matthew 7:12 … recognized by most people because the Golden Rule …

“Subsequently, you need to deal with folks in the identical means that you really want folks to deal with you; that is the Regulation and the Prophet.”

As I sat there listening to her, I started to consider my relationship with my daughter … or lack thereof.  And the excellent news is … I suppose we’re each treating each other precisely the best way by which we every want to be handled.  I write to her from time-to-time, ship her the occasional verify, ship her copies of my newest artist creation, all of the whereas hoping towards hope she would ship again some kind of reply.  And since she chooses to not reply, I need to assume she is hoping towards hope that I might take the trace and cease sending her issues.  Fairly the right instance for the verse … besides that we’re each ignoring each other’s wants.  The conclusion right here is that this … my method of reaching out to her is probably not one of the best ways to work together with somebody I maintain expensive.

As I considered this sermon and its message throughout these previous couple of weeks, I realized folks do issues for each other based mostly on the idea of how they want to be handled themselves … this as a substitute of taking the time to grasp and find out about how another person want to be handled.  This, in fact, is the distinction between sympathy and empathy.  The Golden Rule is just about all about sympathy, I feel.

And sympathy, naturally, means understanding the scenario from one’s personal perspective.  Empathy, alternatively, entails placing oneself in one other individual’s footwear and understanding why they’ve the wants they’ve.  Empathy is seeing one other individual as their distinctive self with all of their desires, wants, and needs … seeing them as they’re.  By attempting to grasp my daughter’s wants, maybe I can method issues in a unique method.

However within the absence of any dialogue, it makes me surprise if there are different choices aside from the Golden Rule.  The one possibility hinted at right here … “deal with others the best way they need to be handled” may imply that generally folks could need to be handled in a means to not their final profit or well-being.  And in the event that they need to be handled in a means with which we disagree, then issues can change into problematic.

I’m guessing all of this may be an vital lesson relevant to all of {our relationships}.  By empathizing relatively than sympathizing, we make others really feel seen, heard, and related.  In any case, don’t we love folks for who they’re … not for who we mission them to be?  Don’t we attempt to help folks for who they’re … not simply as an extension of ourselves.  By taking the time to grasp one other individual, asking them about their views and emotions, we will start to deal with folks how they need to be handled.  My letter to her ought to be me asking her for that probability to grasp her.

The underside line right here is that I need no matter message I ship to my daughter to be one that’s completed in a loving method, based mostly on empathy and never on sympathy.  I need any relationship we’d need to be based mostly on understanding, and never on assumptions … and based mostly on love … love that hears and love that’s extra related.  I will share all of this together with her hoping that she, too, may give all of this some thought.

Since we’re nonetheless estranged in any case of those years, then she is aware of I’m failing miserably at my makes an attempt to reconnect.  I simply need her to know I preserve attempting to achieve out as a result of she is so crucial to me.  I have a look at all of this and admit to addressing my want and never her want.  I pray she’s going to settle for my sincerest apology for this.  It’s simply that that is onerous … so very onerous.  However I’ll attempt to hearken to her silence as it’s all I’ve … and I proceed to hope she may perceive my efforts to achieve out to her.

However again to “Half The Sky” … though my estrangement may by no means be resolved, I did need the younger girl in my story to finish on a cheerful word.  Perhaps my daughter may learn the story some day and take into consideration issues in another way.  Which may simply be a extremely nice birthday current, sure?


Copyright © 2023 by Nancy Joie Wilkie  All Rights Reserved

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