The Golden Rule – Religious Media Weblog


(by Nancy Joie Wilkie, Faraway and Endlessly—Extra Tales)

The third story in Faraway and Endlessly … “Half The Sky” … is a couple of teenage lady simply previous to her eighteenth birthday … and who has been estranged from her mother and father for her complete life … and she or he doesn’t know why.  After believing she is likely to be an orphan, she is instructed that one or each of her mother and father may really nonetheless be alive.  So within the ultimate week on the Abbey the place she has lived for seventeen of her eighteen years, she units off to find why her father or mother, or mother and father, would have left her within the care of the Sisterhood so way back.

Folks may ask why I wrote this story.  And right here is the painful fact.  I have been estranged from my daughter for extra years than I care to rely … all due to a very horrible divorce … one you may hear about on the information or examine in a well-liked journal.  How the state of affairs happened isn’t what’s necessary right here.  What’s necessary is how I’ve tried to resolve the estrangement.

Lately I’ve been serious about what kind of message I’d ship to my daughter on her upcoming birthday.  Generally concepts for my letter come to me from a tune or a poem, typically an thought comes from a dialog with a good friend.  This 12 months, an thought cropped up whereas listening to a sermon from my great pastor.  The verse she preached on was Matthew 7:12 … recognized by most people because the Golden Rule …

“Subsequently, it is best to deal with folks in the identical manner that you really want folks to deal with you; that is the Legislation and the Prophet.”

As I sat there listening to her, I started to consider my relationship with my daughter … or lack thereof.  And the excellent news is … I assume we’re each treating each other precisely the best way wherein we every want to be handled.  I write to her from time-to-time, ship her the occasional test, ship her copies of my newest artist creation, all of the whereas hoping in opposition to hope she would ship again some type of reply.  And since she chooses to not reply, I need to assume she is hoping in opposition to hope that I might take the trace and cease sending her issues.  Fairly the right instance for the verse … besides that we’re each ignoring each other’s wants.  The conclusion right here is that this … my method of reaching out to her is probably not one of the simplest ways to work together with somebody I maintain pricey.

As I thought of this sermon and its message throughout these previous few weeks, I realized folks do issues for each other primarily based on the idea of how they want to be handled themselves … this as a substitute of taking the time to grasp and find out about how another person want to be handled.  This, in fact, is the distinction between sympathy and empathy.  The Golden Rule is just about all about sympathy, I feel.

And sympathy, naturally, means understanding the state of affairs from one’s personal perspective.  Empathy, alternatively, entails placing oneself in one other particular person’s sneakers and understanding why they’ve the wants they’ve.  Empathy is seeing one other particular person as their distinctive self with all of their desires, wants, and needs … seeing them as they’re.  By attempting to grasp my daughter’s wants, maybe I can method issues in a unique method.

However within the absence of any dialogue, it makes me surprise if there are different choices other than the Golden Rule.  The one choice hinted at right here … “deal with others the best way they wish to be handled” may imply that typically folks might wish to be handled in a manner to not their final profit or well-being.  And in the event that they wish to be handled in a manner with which we disagree, then issues can change into problematic.

I’m guessing all of this is likely to be an necessary lesson relevant to all of {our relationships}.  By empathizing reasonably than sympathizing, we make others really feel seen, heard, and related.  In spite of everything, don’t we love folks for who they’re … not for who we mission them to be?  Don’t we attempt to help folks for who they’re … not simply as an extension of ourselves.  By taking the time to grasp one other particular person, asking them about their views and emotions, we are able to start to deal with folks how they wish to be handled.  My letter to her needs to be me asking her for that likelihood to grasp her.

The underside line right here is that I need no matter message I ship to my daughter to be one that’s performed in a loving method, primarily based on empathy and never on sympathy.  I need any relationship we’d need to be primarily based on understanding, and never on assumptions … and primarily based on love … love that hears and love that’s extra related.  I will share all of this along with her hoping that she, too, may give all of this some thought.

Since we’re nonetheless estranged in any case of those years, then she is aware of I’m failing miserably at my makes an attempt to reconnect.  I simply need her to know I maintain attempting to succeed in out as a result of she is so essential to me.  I take a look at all of this and admit to addressing my want and never her want.  I pray she’s going to settle for my sincerest apology for this.  It’s simply that that is arduous … so very arduous.  However I’ll attempt to take heed to her silence as it’s all I’ve … and I proceed to wish she may perceive my efforts to succeed in out to her.

However again to “Half The Sky” … although my estrangement may by no means be resolved, I did need the younger girl in my story to finish on a contented observe.  Possibly my daughter may learn the story some day and take into consideration issues otherwise.  That may simply be a very nice birthday current, sure?


Copyright © 2023 by Nancy Joie Wilkie  All Rights Reserved


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