10. Sympathy

The world felt new and evergreen,
A pristine Eden place.
I saw the guests as people now,
Each one had a face.


   — Lady in White


A friend and I once went to Panama City, FL. It was near the end of summer, and as we discovered when we got there, the trip was ill-timed; the “season,” we learned, had pretty much just ended, and it was like a ghost town down there. But we stayed for a few days anyway and made the best of it.


The amusement park was desolate, but for lack of anything else to do we decided to go one night. We went into a haunted house, and the first door we went through opened up into a room filled with more doors. The object, we quickly realized, was to figure out how to get the hell out of there. But the room was dark and we were alone, and after trying half dozen doors unsuccessfully, we both began to get a bit nervous.


Sounds silly, doesn’t it? That two college-age boys would get nervous like that in an amusement park in Florida? But at the time, being trapped in that room was “our world.” And at that moment, it was all we knew. 


We finally found the door that would take us out, and immediately the pressure lifted. Everything was okay again, and we both smiled with expressions of relief, “brushed ourselves off,” and acted like nothing had really happened. 


Today, I think of how easy it is for me to get wrapped up in my own concerns. And I think it’s probably the general tendency for most people. Don’t you sometimes feel trapped? Often times other people hold the energy that would help you to escape the bindings of short sightedness.


I think that relationship is the key to the door of release, and I believe that God intended for people to help each other — to sympathize with one another and to work with each other, releasing the energy that so liberates the spirit.


Sympathy isn’t about feeling sorry for someone; it’s about connecting and sharing hope with someone. Think about it: just your presence could very well crack that door of liberation for someone. People need windows to get “out of the box;” they need reminders of what is beyond and what is possible. 


Day 10 Guide


Today, be a window for someone. Offer a hug, a pat on the back or a smile. Or maybe you’re “in the box” yourself and need a helping hand. Open yourself up to others, being careful not to let anger set up roadblocks to your soul.


I’d be glad to hear from you; send me an email.


© 2005, Levi Hill

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