Morning Meditation: Empathy

Flash forward three years (from yesterday’s meditation) . . . ninth grade. Spring dance.

The boy I’d had the HUGEST crush on asked me to be his date to the spring dance. Never mind that my parents didn’t allow dating until I was 16. Also, never mind the fact that for our entire middle school years he’d been dating the “ex-BFF” from elementary school (aka – the mean girl). In fact, that made his ask even sweeter! I’d be totally disingenuous if I didn’t admit that there was a small amount of satisfaction in knowing that the one who didn’t “fit” the “in-friend group” actually could warrant THE rebound relationship invite.

However, something about it didn’t feel right. Somewhere deep in my gut, I knew that it was breaking a significant “girl code” to even remotely entertain the idea of going to the dance with *Chad.

He’d dumped *Karen (my former best friend) just a few months prior to the big spring dance. She was heartbroken and it was the talk of the freshman class because they were the “it” couple. Quarterback of the football team and head cheerleader – the stuff you see in movies. But I’d had a crush on him for years and since we were typing partners in Keyboarding 101, we’d actually developed a decent friendship. So – all girl-code aside, I went to the dance with Chad. Besides, Karen treated me really crappy a few years ago, isn’t there something about karma?

As soon as I walked into the dance, people were telling me how Karen was in the bathroom crying because she missed Chad. “Too bad,” I thought to myself. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a ton of thought that went into MY feelings years ago when I was snubbed at the end of the sixth-grade year.

The dance happened. As did “the dance.”

The one I’d daydreamed about for years. And . . . just like I’d always imagined . . . it was not just the dance. The dance also had “the kiss”.

The perfect revenge, right?

Being kissed by the guy, at the dance, on the dance floor, for all to see. Especially Karen who’d hurt me.

It was absolutely the crappiest kiss ever. Sloppy. Gross.

When it was over the only thought I had was “well, that was not all that it was cracked up to be.” (And I’ll admit, he probably thought the same thing).

Perhaps, though, the lack of fireworks also had a lot to do with the fact that all my life I’d been taught by my parents to treat others as I would want to be treated. To be kind to all people, even if they weren’t kind to me. And that night, nothing of kindness characterized my actions.

Truth is, I have no idea what happened between Chad and myself after that one dance. I don’t remember if we talked, flirted, or how we resolved that we were not going to be “a thing”. But I do remember what it felt like to be mean.

The first aid for bad blood in any relationship is empathy.

Who do you need to begin exploring empathy with today?

Romans 12:17-19 Don’t get revenge; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

Grace and Peace,