Sunday, December 26, 2010

Empathy

There are endless movie and television plots based on a parents trying to live out dreams through their children. These never made sense to me, because it seemed so obvious that a person wouldn't get the same joy out of someone else accomplishing something as if one were to actually accomplish it for oneself. I now know that it the case of parents and children it's entirely possible, even likely, that a parent can feel more joy watching his children than the children feel themselves. However, the plot element still doesn't make sense to me because the joy comes from watching the children have joy, and in these movies and television shows the children are never having joy. It's always a drudgery or misery for the children. Perhaps in the future I'll discover that as a parent it's fun to watch your children in the midst of drudgery and or misery. If there's one thing I've learned in my 26 years it's that I don't know much, and some things will eventually make sense.

Alena was sick on Christmas Eve. So sick that we had to cancel our friends coming over to do the nativity with us. So sick that when some of them didn't get the message and came anyway, they looked at Alena and decided to go home. Christmas morning didn't start with sparkling eyes, gasps, and excitement from her as we had anticipated. Reasor had oodles of fun, but Alena had a bit of a slow start. As the day wore on, she started to feel a little better and the sparkling eyes came with it. She spent several hours playing with Reasor and their new toys. There was immense satisfaction for we who had played Santa to watch the joy in our children's eyes. There were several times throughout the day that as I watched them, I was aware of feeling more joy than seemed possible. I was happier than I had ever been about Christmas, and the day was full of spontaneous hugs and "I love you's." I think I was happier that my kids were happy than they were.

And then, it started to snow. Alena has been talking since October about how Christmas involves making snow angels outside. We had tried to prep her for a lack of snow here in our new home, but when she looked out the window Christmas morning she asked why there wasn't any snow if it was Christmas. The weather people had spent the week ever so excited about the possibility of flurries on Christmas. I had my doubts. I was wrong. We ended up with enough snow to make a few snow angels and a 14 inch snowman. Christmas snow has never been more magical. Never I tell you. I can't imagine anyone being happier about snow than I was as I watched Alena being happy about snow. It's like her emotions are magnified in me when I watch them. I guess it took being a parent for me to start to truly understand what empathy is. I wouldn't trade the experience of feeling my children's Christmas joy for 10 years of being a child feeling Christmas joy. May we all remember who the true source of joy is, at this season of His birth.

Merry Christmas! Jesus Christ lives!

1 Comments:

Blogger Tony Wong said...

Your thoughts bring ever so nearer to the notion that to everything there is opposition.
Sickness vs. Wellness with sparkling eyes.
The absence of anticipated white Christmas vs. Eventual snowy one.
These contrasts exist in our lives every day. What makes it special is that in this case, the better things occured subsequent to the bad ones and not the other way round. That makes things so much more joyous, satisfying and endearing. I am so glad things turned around so nicely for you and your family! Have a happy and healthy New Year!

9:48 PM  

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