When we lived in San Francisco, I must admit to a great deal of… wait, let me restate what I was going to say. I must admit to a sad lack of empathy for the many homeless and mentally challenged people that plague that beautiful city by the Bay. However, I’ve shared the story in a few of my homilies about one street person who took up a position somewhat near my business. I saw him as a blight on our neighborhood — most especially when I saw that he had become sick on the sidewalk one time. I’ll have to admit such a lack of empathy that it festered inside of me bordering on hate when I saw this man. After about five years, I sold my business and we left California.
Many years later, we had to return to San Francisco for a legal matter and I saw the same man. My heart had softened somewhat, and I went to talk to him. He was rational and coherent — we exchanged some thoughts and I gave him a small amount of money to buy food (I hope). The thing that I learned about that street person is that he didn’t choose the path in life that led him to where we saw him. Bad choices and circumstances brought him to Pine Street in the financial district of San Francisco. Empathy allowed me to understand that not all was his fault. It was empathy that invoked a willingness to talk to, and listen to him.
I don’t mean to put that personal story of mine in the same context as the topic of caring for Down Syndrome children that we used as focal discussion material in today’s show. But we need to pray for empathy for children who have this situation or who have ADHD or other issues. We need to pray for empathy for people we work with who haven’t been schooled to see things the way that we do or the way that we feel things should be seen. We need patience with those who try our patience. Empathy is a gift that we can practice on and with. Empathy allows us to listen before responding or before judgment.
Thanks to our guest Nicole Smith, a recent graduate from Franciscan University who is now taking on special education class challenges at the John Paul the Great High School in Dumphries, Virginia. The link for the school is:
Thanks also to the lovely Sarah Bauer for visiting with us and sharing a family and career update. Sarah’s most recent album is titled Radiance and that is the title song that we played during the show. Sarah’s music and contact information is found at:
I think most people know the wonderful Lisa Hendey who is the originator of the website www.catholicmom.com and the podcast found at: www.catholicmoments.sqpn.com Lisa is also a blogger at several sites and she is the author of a great book entitled The Handbook For Catholic Moms.
Deacon Tom has been blessed with a three year and more relationship with Lisa and does columns for the Catholic Mom site and Deacon Moments audio reflections on the Catholic Moments Podcast. You can reach Lisa at LisaHendey@gmail.com She’d love to hear from you.