Recently my youngest daughter said to me, “Mom, you cry at almost anything now-a-days,” in reference to me getting teary about some news story on public radio. It certainly may seem that way to her, but in thinking back on this phenomena, I have always been very emotional about stories I hear (whether real or fiction), personal accounts of people’s woes or a lovely moment in time.
In thinking of maybe why this is I’ve decided that I attribute it to my empathetic nature when it comes to others or any living thing. Even as a young child, I recall not being able to watch the show “Lassie” without much difficulty because of all the traumatic events that she went through. Although I knew good always seemed to prevail, I couldn’t bring myself to get through the tough spots without suffering too much. Same with Bambi and Black Beauty.
These sorts of things are probably what drove me to become a vegetarian at a fairly young age and then finally a paramedic. I find in my job it is often tricky to separate myself from my human and professional side–something we are taught to do. But I also feel this is part of my special gift as a medic. I’ve never been the smartest medic with all the book answers at the tip of my fingers, but I have never hesitated to hold a hand, cry with a patient or kiss someone goodbye.
Sometimes it can be a heavy burden to be an empathetic person–especially in the world in which we live. It feels like there is more fear, sadness, hate, violence and crime. With easy access to information, news of everyone’s troubles abound. And I hear it all, take it all in and am sometimes overwhelmingly pained by it all. I find myself stopping dead at what I am doing and just cry many moments of my day.
Of course, the same can be said for joy! A happy tale brings me warmth in my soul also–even if it’s from half way around the world. Stories of peace, kindness, hope and giving all bring those tears that make you wonder what exactly are tears meant to do? Why do we cry anyway? And yes, now I let myself feel even more deeply than I ever have and I’m never afraid to let others see it. My youngest saw my tears again today when we watched the old home baby videos. They were tears of remembering, regret, love, hope and seeing a moment captured in time that faded into unfulfilled dreams.
So while being who I am, empathetic–feeling the pain, sorrow, joys and hopes of others can often be a big task, it’s one I feel I was made carry out. It was who I born to be. Being an emotional, feeling person was always and will always be who I am. There is no changing how I feel and I am happy that I am one that can tune into others and help them when I’m close and send them my long distance energy when I’m far away. Because as they say: “the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world.” Maybe me caring is somehow reaching people all over the planet.