Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Main Entry: 1pity
Pronunciation: 'pi-tE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural pit·ies
Etymology: Middle English pite, from Old French pité, from Latin pietat-, pietas piety, pity, from pius pious
1 a : sympathetic sorrow for one suffering, distressed, or unhappy b : capacity to feel pity
2 : something to be regretted pity you can't go>

Pity is an uncomfortable word to me. Even though its one of the most natural human responses to a misunderstood situation it remains an unwanted feeling. When people see someone who has any outwardly misfortune its pity that comes to the forefront of emotions. Its a genuine emotion, yet at the same time you don't want the person being pitied to feel pitied.

Somehow I learned early in life that others don't want to be pitied. I didn't have a handicapped friend, or anything like that. I think I just knew that it must be uncomfortable based on how I felt when someone did that to me. See, I was an only child. I was Fatherless. I was always the new kid at school. I wanted friendships, but not friendships based on pity. I wanted someone to get to know me and decide that I was so awesome that they just had to be my friend.

My own empathy took on a life of its own at an early age too. There wasn't a stray animal that I didn't just love with all my heart. I took pity on any pathetic creature that wander through my yard. In school there was never a kid I didn't at least say hi to. Especially a new kid! In my teen years it got worse. If a boy asked me on a date it was hard to say no. I didn't want to hurt his feelings, yet I knew he didn't want a pity date either.

Then somewhere along the way my self centeredness overshadowed my empathy. I was so self centered. It was all about me. Me, me, me, me! Other people's problems didn't mean much to me because I was busy making mountains out of the molehills that popped up in my life. I was making stupid decisions and stupid mistakes all along the way. I knew I was. I prayed to God about it. I prayed for wisdom. That was my first mistake.

See, God answers prayers, but not in the way you want him to. You get to learn your lessons the way He wants you to. Through the consequences of every decision you make you learn your lessons. You also learn through the gifts. Through my children I have learned to take on the world. I have learned how to talk to people. And having an autistic child has taught me that pity, while a natural reaction, is not for me. Its not for my son either. I've learned that he wants the same things I wanted as a kid. He wants people to get to know him and decide he is so awesome they just have to be his friend.