The Long Road to Empathy

I used to get aggravated at my dad because of his deafness.

Knowing now the loneliness of losing my hearing, I think about how frustrated and isolated he must have felt.

I used to get aggravated at my mom because of the way she sometimes snapped at Dad for no apparent reason.

Knowing now the way that chronic pain saps your energy and puts a mean edge on everything, I think about how forty years of arthritis could alter a personality.

I used to get aggravated at people who hated change.

Knowing now the exasperation of having grown up with Depression Era values and living in a post-millennial culture, I think about how frightening and frustrating it must have been to my parents to see their sons growing beards and long hair.


It seems like there ought to be an easier way to getting to the point of understanding someone else’s pains and fears, something that doesn’t take this many years. You gotta admire those people who can just think about a thing and feel someone else’s pain. But even for those of us who seem to take the long way there, it’s always good when life leads us to greater understanding and caring for those who share with us the sometimes rough and rocky road of walking through this world on our way to a better one.

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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