Empathy…Plato, Gareth, Kim…

Musing… 2,400 years ago Plato said: ‘The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world.’

We watched the football last night, enjoying the nonsense commentary and clichés: ‘this is another hurdle to climb’… ‘the final whistle is in the very near distance’…

The 2-1 semi-final win against Denmark was good for England. Fans across the country celebrated…

Musing… What’s it like to be Gareth Southgate this morning? Managing players and staff, preparing for Sunday’s final against Italy, knowing that his plans and decisions will be judged by the nation…

Yesterday I helped Kim write the first draft of her ‘Advanced Directive’. She wants me to share it. It starts:

‘I, Kim,… have lived with an eating disorder for over 20 years. ‘I have experienced significant and serious physical and mental ill-health and undergone a range of treatments…’

Kim understands her physical, psychological and spiritual condition and what could happen in the future; she’s planning her future treatment and end of life care…

Musing… What’s it like to be Kim this morning? Remembering her past, living with her present condition, reflecting on what the future may hold…

Musing… other recent conversations… the dad who’s recently learnt that his daughter has breast cancer, the wife, adjusting to her husband’s developing dementia, the mum anxious about her daughter starting high school in September, the grandmother thinking of her doctor-grandson working with covid patients…

Empathy… listening without judging, fixing, or considering my prejudices… living in another’s world, walking in another’s shoes, seeing with another’s eyes…

I continue to love the Bible; it helps me to understand people, as well as God. It’s central character lived and taught empathy, ‘love your enemy’, ‘love your neighbour as yourself’, live in their world… I start to get a glimpse of how others are feeling…

Musing… Plato again: ‘Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.’

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