I can see the exhaustion in your eyes
And the way you hold your head tells a story
Before the first word emerges from your mouth
I can imagine myself in your shoes
And perhaps I have been there, perhaps not
But either way I can imagine your world
And attempt to see my own through your eyes
In empathy I can see your humanity
And I am drawn to care and notice your suffering
To value you as a peer even while a stranger
Yet, in an inhospitable world how do we risk hospitality
When empathy is mistakenly viewed as weakness
And psychosis as strength and it is easier not to care
How do we make the inhuman humane?
How does compassion live with apathy?
How can love exist in the midst of hate?
Wouldn’t it be far easier to turn inwards
Narcissistically seeking my own good and benefit?
Refusing to consider any world beyond my own,
Refusing to risk seeing and hearing and caring
To convince myself that your story doesn’t matter
That I am entitled to the position as the world’s center of gravity
It would be easier to turn a blind eye
With willfully blinded eyes and closed ears
Yet, I do see and I remain empathetic
And once again hope triumphs over despair
That perhaps you might know you are seen
And that you might also see me as well
And our journey through this life might not be alone
Neil White, 2013