I will be honest. I did not enjoy writing this article.
It makes me sick to my stomach to truly imagine myself in the place of some of the witnesses to the London bridge attack as I recount the stories in my own words.
Sympathy is feeling compassion, sorrow, or pity for the hardships that another person encounters, while empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of another.
Imagine it’s Saturday night. You are out for a couple of beers with some friends.
Someone suggests you all go to another bar just across the London bridge. “It’s a better vibe over there,” they say. You all step out into the warm spring night and start making your way over to the next establishment.
There are people everywhere in the streets, its the weekend. The group walking ahead of you is a little drunk, singing and laughing, as they stumble along the sidewalk. There is a couple walking behind you, holding hands. Others are following them.
You hear the squeal of tires and immediately guess it’s another young kid showing off, spinning the wheels on his dad’s sports car.
You laugh. You were his age once and know what it’s like to crave attention from the ladies.
You hear the roar of an engine as the pedal hits the floor and look ahead to see a pair of headlights swerve towards the sidewalk. It’s not a sports car, it’s a van.
“Drunk idiot!” you say, “He’s going to hit somebody clowning around like that.”
The tires hit the curb and the van bounces onto the sidewalk. The folks ahead of you jump out of the way but someone moved too late.
Someone was hit.
The van is not slowing down.
It’s coming towards you and your friends, still riding the sidewalk, and now you aren’t thinking anything else besides jumping for your life. You fall to the ground as the drunk driver narrowly misses you and turn around just in time to see the couple behind you get clipped and spin through the air.
The engine continues to roar and that’s when the thought enters your mind, “He’s not drunk, he’s aiming for people.”
The van smashes through the next crowd of people just entering the bridge sidewalk and slams into a guard rail .
Three men jump out.
They run up to a woman, lying motionless on the ground as you gather yourself from the pavement.
You look up.
The three men are not checking to see if she is “OK.”
They are stabbing her repeatedly.
What do you feel right now?
Is it Anger? Hate? Sadness? Fear?
I’ll give you a hint, it is empathy.
You see, if you are like me, you have read the headlines of last Saturday’s terrorist attack on the London bridge and as you did, you thought, “Damn it!!! What the heck is going on in this world!?”
You felt Sympathy, for the innocent people who were killed, hurt, or experienced this disgusting event.
You felt anger and a vicious hate towards the cowards who did this. But, eventually you moved on with your day, just like I did.
It wasn’t until I read several articles and half-a-dozen witness accounts that I truly felt disturbed to the bone. It was only after this that I haven’t been able to shake the images I created in my head.
Sympathy breaks the heart, Empathy breaks the spirit.
I have a challenge for you my friend.
Let us not simply sympathize with people as they have their life torn from them. Let us not be sad for them and “pray for them” as their world gets turned upside down and ours remains stable.
Let your spirit feel them. Let your heart be moved. Let their pain stir you inside until you refuse to be distracted by your little world.
“ The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” —Edmund Burke
Let us not ignore evil and stand by, thankful that it wasn’t us, thankful that we ourselves dodged the bullet.
Let’s treat the experiences of others as if they were our own and stand against evil, using the same boldness they use to tear us apart, to bring the world together.
There is a better way to live!
Thank you for reading! I am nearing the release of my BOOK, based on living the extraordinary life. Find it (HERE) 🙂