Tonight's picture was taken in February of 2009. As you can see Mattie was shaking hands with Geoffrey, the Toys R Us mascot. Geoffrey came to celebrate Georgetown University Hospital's ribbon cutting ceremony for the childlife playroom. When Mattie entered the Hospital in August of 2008, the pediatric unit had NO playroom. However, within months, this space opened up and it gave us a new found freedom. A place to see and interact with other children and families, and most importantly a diversion from being stuck in a hospital room. Linda, Mattie's Childlife Specialist, understood that Mattie was the kind of kid who needed responsibility and a task. So she appointed him to participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony, and actually was one of the kids who cut the ribbon that was attached to the entrance into the room! It was a very exciting day for Mattie that involved pictures and CAKE! Though I am not sure who was happier about the cake, me or Mattie! Though this may not be public knowledge, there were some VERY bad days at the hospital, in which I would literally eat frosting right out of a canister. I am not sure who knows this other than Linda and Peter, and now of course all of you.
Quote of the day: Moral imagination is the capacity to empathize with others, i.e., not just to feel for oneself, but to feel with and for others. ~ Thomas McCollough
Empathy is one of those buzz words that gets over utilized in our society. If you had a bad day at work, at home, are sick, something happened to your child, you suffered a loss, a death, and the list goes on, chances are someone is going to tell you they "EMPATHIZE" with what you are dealing with. But is that really TRUE??!!
I remember in grad school, one of my professors pounded into us the difference between sympathy and empathy. To some these words are used interchangeably and are perceived as expressing the same thing. But in reality sympathy and empathy are vastly different and we can thank the American Psychologist, Carl Rogers for this beautiful distinction. From the moment I first learned about Rogers, I loved his theory and philosophy. Rogers felt that to truly experience empathy for someone else, you need to feel "as if" you were that other person. It is not how you perceive the situation, but instead the art is to be able to enter into someone else's world and viewpoint and experience the pain and emotions from that person's lens. This is not as easy as it sounds to do and frankly it can take a huge emotional toll on a listener to be able to empathize all the time. Nonetheless, when Charlie sent me this quote today, my gut reaction was I hope that all my readers have someone in their life they can turn to who truly empathizes and understands them, and in return that we can share this gift with someone else. To be heard, understood, and appreciated are probably life's greatest gifts.
I began my day by visiting Ann's mom, Mary. Mary was happy to see me but unfortunately was unable to verbalize her thoughts today. I miss the days that Mary could freely talk and we could converse about various topics. Nonetheless, I am happy that I met Mary a few years ago, because it gives us some history together that enables me to understand sometimes what she is trying to say or feel.
Today in a way was a miraculous day. I woke up without a headache. That may not sound earth shattering to all of you, but for me this was a gift. I have suffered with intense headaches now for two weeks straight. So much so that it was hard to keep my head up and eyes open. But today was spectacular, and to add to this, it was a beautiful spring like weather day which inspired me to walk for several miles.
This evening, Peter and I went to Georgetown University to meet with one of the business school class groups. This group has adopted Mattie Miracle as their community based learning project in two classes. I learned tonight that I am a "social entrepreneur," which is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to achieve social change (a social venture). I simply loved the title, and Peter and I had a productive session brainstorming several ideas with this group that ranged from analyzing our mission to developing an innovative psychosocial service that could be transferable to other hospitals. I find it very meaningful interacting with students and am inspired by how our story impacts them personally.