By Dorothy Knight Burchett
I have a silly habit. Well, it’s not silly, but it is a habit. Well, maybe, it isn’t a habit, but I do it often. Mostly, I do it when I’m driving downtown and I see someone walking down the street. I wonder what it would be like to be doing what that person is doing—especially if it’s raining, or the weather is uncomfortable.
For instance, if a woman is carrying packages into her house, I try to put myself in her place. (Or, if you will, I try to walk a mile in her shoes.) I imagine that I am on her doorstep, holding the bags and searching for the house key. How would I feel if I were doing it?
When I see men working on road construction as I’m driving through, I’m thinking about the expertise it takes to drive that machinery. I’m considering the muscles it takes to swing the picks and drive the shovels and spread the asphalt. What would it feel like?
Sometimes, I am in a situation similar to one of those—or to others that I see as I drive by. I know what it feels like—I’m just not experiencing it at that moment.
Then I begin to wonder what they’re thinking and feeling—what it’s like to be them.
I’m usually glad I’m driving my car at the moment and not doing what they’re doing. But, I kind of sympathize with them, or empathize, because I know what it’s like.
And, then, I begin to wonder what kind of person he/she might be. I wonder if s/he is happy where he/she is and what s/he is doing. If I can empathize with those feelings, I can empathize with the feelings they would have when interacting with others.
How would they feel if someone was mean to them? I would feel awful. I would feel hurt.
How would they feel if someone did a kind deed for them? or said something nice to them? I would feel as if I was important—that I belong in this world.
I’ll bet that’s how other people feel, too. After all, we’re all human.
We all have different ideas about what the afterlife is like. We’ve read about it and heard about it, but it’s one of those things that we have to experience for ourselves. Fortunately (or unfortunately) we all get to do that eventually.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if the afterlife consisted of us experiencing how we interacted with other people? If we hurt someone, perhaps, we would have the opportunity to feel what the person felt. If we hurt a lot of people, we might hurt a lot.
If we were nice to people, we might have a warm, fuzzy feeling every time we think of the people we helped along the way.
Of course, this is all conjecture. It might not be this way at all. On the other hand, it might.
I’m not going to take any chances. Silly habit, or no silly habit, I’m going to be nice.
Dorothy has recently published a book, “Miles and Miracles”, and it can be purchased on Amazon and Kindle, and is now available at 512 Main in Knox, PA. Her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org