I consider myself to be a fairly empathetic person. To be honest, I haven’t gone through a lot in my life. I’ve lived comfortably, my parents have been happily married for almost 30 years, I went through the typical teenage angst in middle and high school, but that’s pretty common. I’m not someone who has had a lot of suffering in my life. But I know people who have. And I try to be empathetic, even when I don’t have the experience that tells me how that would feel, and I think I succeed for the most part.
But where I’m not empathetic is when it comes to physical pain and discomfort. No (knock on wood) major injuries, nor major illnesses. So I just don’t get pain. In fact, until I was 20, I thought that people who complained about allergies needed to just shut up and blow their nose. Then, inexplicably (after living in Texas fairly steadily for 3 years) I began to suffer from the typical Texan allergies. And now, every year, in January I’m thrown to the ground by nasal congestion and sinus headaches. Have you ever tried to hurl yourself about a dance studio at the peak of your allergy sufferings? It’s kind of impossible. So my empathy for allergy sufferers is now in place. And before I had issues with my, er, cycle, I thought girls complaining from PMS pain needed to just get over it. And then I found myself crying in bed one day for the very same reason, so, again, more empathy.
Anyway, I decided to make a frittata on Thursday.
It’s like a crustless quiche, so you semi-scramble eggs on the stove and then you move the pan to the oven and bake until it sets.
Then someone calls you on the phone and so you throw the oven mitts at your husband and he pulls the pan out of the oven and places the pan back on the burner. You hang up the phone, and realize that the frittata is weirdly rising up in the center. You realize that the burner that the pan is on must still be heated, so you decide to move the pan to a burner without heat.
And then you burn your hand because you forgot that the pan was in an oven cooking at 350 degrees!!
I think I’ve only cried from pain three times in my adult life, and this was one of them. And I remember thinking “this isn’t that bad, surely it will be over in a few minutes.”
Three hours later I am trying to fall asleep and my hand is still searing (literally) with pain.
So now I have a little taste of what a burn feels like, so I also have empathy for burns now. Talk to me about your burns and I will lend an empathetic ear.
I really do think that God is trying to teach me empathy. I just wish I didn’t have to actually go through the suffering to develop it.
Oh, and my burn is fine now. Just a little uncomfortable. If this happens to you, put your hand in a bowl of cool water for relief… and take lots of pain medication. And try to sleep.