Replenishing my Empathy and Understanding

Some days my empathy and understanding run low — a mystery writer showed me a way to replenish my low reserves. And I want to give P.D. James credit now!

The Goodwill Librarian on Facebook aptly summed up an annoying truth: I can remember details more readily than titles!

empathy and understanding


So I decided to anchor a few nourishing thoughts to a comment P.D. James made on her craft in Time to be in Ernest:

In one of my early novels an experienced sergeant is reported to have said to the young probationer Adam Dalgliesh that the letter “L” covers all motives for murder: love, lust, loathing and lucre. He adds, “They’ll tell, my boy, that the most dangerous emotion in the world  is hate. Don’t you believe it. The most dangerous emotion is love.” 

. . . Should the reader feel sympathy for the murderer? Perhaps sympathy is too strong a word; but I think there should be empathy and understanding. In the words of Ivy Compton Burnett: “ I believe it would go ill with many of us if we were faced with a strong temptation, and I suspect that with some of us it does go ill.” (page 117; emphasis mine)

Yep . . .  

That  reminder about the letter “L”  became a handy lens; one that’s especially clarifying in these uncertain times when keeping things simple has never been more necessary.

Thinking about the letter L helps when my supplies of empathy and understanding run dangerously low!


Unclenching my Fist

Also, the reminder  about what we love —what fuels our passion — helped me today read Mark 10 more carefully.

I saw ways Mark described how those who saw Jesus  yet seemed blind to His points about  empathy and understanding — love.

Maybe my empathy and understanding tanks are low because even at this age and stage, I wonder if I:  

 Anyway —  Time to Be in Earnest has been a delight to re-read and while I will remember the gist of P.D. James’ quote, I want to share its source while it’s still fresh. 

Oh — and this, too. It helps me work Step Two!

Waiting on God means I learn to live on what I know to be true about God when I don’t know what’s true about my life. MARK VROEGOP

empathy and understanding

A good place to replenish . . . like Martha and Mary found

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