Nobody has ever accused me of being a lovey-dovey, empathetic comforter of people. You know those people right? The people that hurting people flock to when they’re enduring real pain in life? The inspirational folks who make you feel like a million bucks because you’re breathing? Yeah, that’s not me.
In fact, more often I’ve done the opposite. Saying the wrong thing (which I often believe is the right thing) at the wrong time (which I believe is the right time). A few times I’ve even hurt people who are already hurting. Talking too much and listening too little is a dangerous combination.
And it sucks because I want to be that guy who knows and cares for people deeply. I’d love it if people came to me with their stories knowing I’d care for them well. I’d love to have frequent moments where my heart breaks with others. Moments I can cry with people, lean into their pain, share what they’re carrying and overcome it together.
Or maybe just shed a tear with them.
Alas, my tear ducts stay dry most days.
That’s not how I usually respond.
It’s not my norm.
But if I lived my whole life simply telling people, “I’m not very empathetic.” How in the world will I ever become empathetic? If I hide my shortcomings behind the excuse of “It’s just not who I am,” I’ll never find a way to overcome them.
What’s more, I may even start to find pride in them.
I could become the guy that loves being rock solid. Loves that he doesn’t cry. Finds joy in telling people the harsh truth to seem tough, sharp, and unscathed.
Which would be a tragedy because pride hardens the shell around the soul that connects people in the mysterious way only a soul can accomplish. I’d be suppressing the very nature of man that connects him deeply to other men.
Excuses are the cheap crutch prideful people cling to instead of enduring long-term recovery. Only the latter produces real change. Turns out humans love pretending big issues in our lives are small. What is it that you’re making excuses for? What injury have you refused to start fixing, instead choosing to hold tight to the crutch of excuses?
For me, this means learning to be empathetic and caring.
Do I dream of sobbing at every ant crushed by a man’s shoe? No, but I do want to consistently walk alongside friends dealing with real pain. I want to walk alongside the guy who feels the pressure to perform on the outside while his soul decays inside, reminding him that he’s already been approved by a mighty God.
If I make the excuse of, “well I’m just not that guy.” Then I’ll definitely never be that guy.