Seeing The World Through Eyes of Empathy

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“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”  – Henry David Thoreau

After the horrifying attacks in Paris Friday Night the world mourned for the loss of life in the City of Light.  The scenes shown on the news were heartbreaking as the death toll rose to 129 dead and 352 injured, 99 critically.  On an evening which the young and old were enjoying their beautiful city at a concert, soccer match and restaurants, untold lives were forever changed.  The horror for those involved in the attacks and their loved ones searching for answers was unfathomable to those watching from a distance with palpable helplessness.  Seeing through empathetic eyes, the world knew the panic and fear of parents trying to reach their children to see if they were safe, brothers and sisters desperately trying to contact their parents, husbands and wives fearfully gripping one another, friends frantically calling one another to find out who had heard from their friends at the concert or soccer match, family members of first responders worrying until they heard from their loved ones, and a city in panic wondering if there would be more attacks.  The city was shut down and the lights of the Eiffel Tower dimmed as a city began mourning and searching for answers.  The news media will quickly transition to politics, security and investigations while families and friends confront the devastating loss of loved ones, the long unknown road of recovery for those injured and the struggles they may face in the future, and citizens will wonder if their city streets will ever feel safe.  It was obvious this weekend that many in the world have a love affair with Paris, including myself who has dreamed of traveling to Paris and fallen in love with the city through literature, history, fashion and movies.  As we take the time to learn about and fall in love with other cultures and countries and, for a moment, view the world through another’s eyes, then when tragedies similar to those which have happened in New York, Mumbai, London, Madrid, Beirut or Paris occur or other unimaginable events of a lesser scale that happen daily, the world can join hands and unite against hatred through eyes filled with understanding, loss, love and empathy.

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