When I was a young teen, my mom found me curled up in a ball on my bed one day. I was deeply wounded by friends, people I had known most of my short life. Through my tears, I told my mother that I couldn’t understand how people could be so mean to others. My mom sat quietly on the end of my bed and listened to my emotional anguish, processing what I was going through. As I started to settle down from the lament, she commented that I was so confused and hurt because I have a heart of compassion and feel things very deeply. She then shared words that have stuck with me all my life, “This will always be your greatest strength and your greatest weakness.”
I have traveled with these words for over forty years. I still feel things very deeply, but it has allowed me to navigate through some of the most gut wrenching things people were going through. I have been with parents who lost a child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDs) or suicide. I have ministered to children who tragically lost parents at the hands of a drunk driver, to heart attacks, and COVID. And I have been with grandparents when they lost grand-babies of all ages. The Lord has given me this gift of profound compassion to love the vulnerable amid their crisis, and I am blessed. Empathy is my superpower, my greatest strength. My mom was right!
And yes, all these years later, it still profoundly bothers me when attacked, maligned, or a trust is breached. And I still beat myself up for being over-sensitive, and often it takes me a few days (sometimes weeks or months) to recover from a blow from somebody lashing out. I have learned that sensitivity is my Achilles’ heal, my Kryptonite, and my greatest weakness. My mom was right!