Fearfully and Wonderfully Broken

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On August 20, 2009, four years and five months ago, I enjoyed my last two-wheeled bike ride and experienced a real life-changer. Now a C7 tetraplegic, paralyzed from the mid-chest down, I have grown in my appreciation for God’s grace and mercy (after all, I could’ve been killed or much more profoundly injured). I have also tasted the richness of family relationships, other relationships established through the years, and the many shades of encouragement and support these friendships have borne. Living in a broken earth suit with limited physical abilities was at first very difficult as my identity, purposes, style, calling, and significance rested heavily on my abilities. I’m persuaded that independence can isolate, and that what amounts to diminished pride can be a good thing. My new normal has been characterized as a peculiar stewardship. My needs and dependence have deepened relationships with those who are close to me. And, they have brought me closer to those I knew well long ago but from whom I had grown apart. I appreciate, and can empathize more genuinely and experientially with, others who have met with deep difficulty. While I hope and pray for improved neurological function, this momentary light affliction is changing and refining me as I look to the Lord, endeavor to trust in Him, and live patiently in the “new normal.” Having once stood 6’4″, life now happens at 55 inches. Life, while at lower altitudes, is still very rich.

Sharing: The Power Of Empathy, Animated

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Empathy or Sympathy? What’s the difference? Aren’t they the same? Perhaps you’re resolved to be more of one or the other in the coming New Year.

On Diffen.com (diffen.com/difference/Empathy_vs_Sympathy), Empathy is defined as understanding what others are feeling because you have experienced it yourself or can put yourself in their shoes. Sympathy, as acknowledging another person’s emotional hardships and providing comfort and assurance. I touch on Empathy in our upcoming January 20 post, “Fearfully and Wonderfully Broken.” But only briefly. The link below will display a clever and helpful animated short via a Lifehacker Facebook post (http://lifehacker.com).

http://youtu.be/1Evwgu369Jw

See also Fast Company’s “The Power Of Empathy, Animated,” highlighting Dr. Brene’ Brown’s treatment of this distinction in her 2010 TED address “The Power of Vulnerability.”

Enjoy and Happy New Year!