The Art of Empathy

Yesterday morning I woke up excited. I have come to love Mondays as my two dear friends spend this day with me creating art. 
I smiled all morning as I carried the boxes of glue, glitter, stamps, papers of every color and paints up from the basement to my dining room table.  I brewed the iced tea and put out the chocolate chip cookies and waited by the window.
Both of my friends arrived together and I hurried out to help them lug in the various containers of art supplies they had decided were a "must have" for our gathering.
We giggled and hugged and practically skipped inside to start our day.
As we cut, painted and rubbed inks onto all different projects we opened our hearts and talked.
Every so often one of us would hold up our project with pride and would receive praise and applause or we would show our "mistakes" and be told with a smile "I think it looks great!"
In these few short hours all the hurts of my past week, all the disappointments, highs and lows of my life melted away into a deep feeling of being loved.
When the day was over and we had said our goodbyes I sat in my living room and noticed the simple joy that was flowing in my heart and body. 
I began to listen and I heard "thank you for letting me have this" from my inner self.  I knew that I was feeling a deep gratitude for these two women and our creative time together- but I knew it wasn't the art that had given me this peace- it was the constant love and empathy that flowed from their hearts to mine and from mine back to theirs.  We had offered each other an accepting ear.  We left judgment at the door and offered instead understanding, compassion and encouragement to each other. 
Each one of us gave and each one of us received. 
I bowed my head and gave thanks as I recognized the gift I had been praying for- true friends who could hear me and respect me, but most of all who could offer me the gift of Empathy and compassion.
I had been received and appreciated myself as if I was the piece of Art, and it felt wonderful......


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