Thursday, October 09, 2014

Empathy

Last night after dinner my husband and I decided to go for a walk. For a month now I have been trying to lose weight (10lbs gone so far!!!) and I have become addicted to walking and getting in at least 10,000 steps a day. That is why I have Thomas walking now. It started out partially for selfish reasons, getting him out walking with me so that I could reach my 10,000+ steps, but also because I wanted him out in the fresh air, but now it's turned into quality time with him that I cherish. Anyway, I announced that Dan and I were going on a walk and Thomas popped into the room and asked,

"Are you guys going for a walk? Where are you going?"

I tried to decide if he was asking because he was nervous to be being left since it was getting dark out or even more heartbreaking, was he asking because he wanted to go too? I didn't jump on inviting him because I knew we were going to go for a long, fast walk and I knew he wouldn't be able to keep up. Still, there was something about the way he was asking that tugged at my heartstrings. Then he asked,

"Are you going around the cemetery and college?" (our usual walk, he and I)

and I told him we'd at least be doing that. The truth is as much as this whole exchange was breaking my heart, I knew that my husband also needs some time just with me to decompress and to just be together as husband and wife. Bless Thomas's heart though, he was really curious, a bit wide-eyed in the way that one gets when they are happily excited about something, and he was just standing there expectantly. I told him though that we were leaving and asked him if he would be okay while we were gone to which he said he would.

So, we left but in spirit I brought Thomas with me and wondered if all of his questioning was because he was hoping to be invited. When we got home, he was waiting for us. I sat down in the living room to take off my shoes and he asked me,

"How was your walk? Was it nice?"

This to me showed empathy. Perhaps because he had seemed so excited about the walk in the first place, I saw something that maybe isn't really there but in asking how our walk was and being genuinely interested in the answer, I felt this showed a great amount of empathy. He was outside of himself, his love of video games and YouTube and he was present in our living room enthusiastically asking about our walk and wanting an answer. It was a beautiful moment for me with him. It showed me so much about what a sweet spirit he has. In fact, I can't remember the last time he showed so much interest and caring though he is not without those qualities most of the time.

I was touched by his interest and I vowed to myself that today I am going to walk with him come hell or high water. We have missed a couple walks because there are these clouds of gnats I call blueflies (because they are a light, sky blue) and they are impossible to walk in because they get in your hair, your eyes and they try very hard to get in your mouth too. They're gross and more so, annoying. But it is shaping up to be a beautiful day today as I look outside now and see the sun rising and the clear blue skies. I will be spending some time with Thomas today on a nice walk out in the sunshine.

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