the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing…(in the sense ‘inner sight, mental vision, wisdom’)
Yesterday I was mulling over the complexities of what it means to empathize with someone when it is impossible to know exactly what they think about or feel exactly what they feel. As good as our relationship as husband and wife is, and as well as we know each other after 30+ years, communication can still be less than perfect, especially when it comes to understanding this crazy journey from the other person’s perspective. I approach things as a dyed in the wool optimist, which can come across to Sandy as ‘living in Fantasyland’, whereas he approaches the same exact issues as a pragmatist, which can come across to me as pessimism. Luckily for us we are usually able to find the humor in our YinYang union, and ultimately know that our differences compliment one another to strengthen our bond. But we’re still distinct people, and until we master the art of the Vulcan mind meld, our thoughts remain unique and separate. Even when shared through conversation, words can only go so far, and part of what we think and who we are remains unknowable to anyone except our Creator. So how to be truly empathetic with someone going through an extraordinarily difficult life event? Perhaps that’s where “insight” comes in – knowledge gained not from our regular senses, but from someplace (or someOne) else. I will never know perfectly what the love of my life is going through, but I hope that whatever natural empathy I possess, along with much prayed for insight to cover my deficiencies, will bring me closer to understanding. This is a shared journey, so it behooves me to be the best possible traveling buddy. I know that I have the best!