The Fullness of Being Known: The Story of Pathos, Sympathy, and Empathy

The Fullness of Being Known

The Story of Pathos, Sympathy, and Empathy


Joseph Anthony

Once upon a time there was a sorrowful star
named Pathos. He was always suffering and lamenting one thing or another;
everything was a drama—real dramas as well as manufactured ones.  And often the manufactured ones caused him
more acute suffering than the so-called real ones.  Things just didn’t seem to go his way much of
the time and as a result he lived a life of constant sorrow.

One day, an angel named Sympathy alighted
at his side and sat so still that he became like a pond that reflected what
Pathos was feeling. Pathos rose and began doing one of his daily, majestic,
tragic dances. Sympathy rose and matched him step for step. Pathos smiled the
first smile he had smiled in ages as he watched Sympathy mirror and shadow his
dance of tears. After a few minutes however, the angel Sympathy vanished without
a word into a sphere of light and was gone.

Pathos sat back down in the garden of a
million stars
 and sighed. He felt better. He felt alive—seen. No one had ever
seen him like that before. But within a day or so he was back to his suffering
and lamenting. It was then that another angel appeared.

This one was named Empathy, and she moved like the morning–gracefully
and subtly, with ever deepening gestures. She moved closer and closer to Pathos
and as she did Pathos felt like he was being perfumed with the fragrances of
lavender and amber. Gradually Empathy moved so close to Pathos that she slipped
inside his heart and began feeling what he was feeling. When Pathos rose to
dance, Empathy was in his shoes, in his limbs, in his blood and bones. Pathos
felt exhilarated. Sympathy seemed to know what he was feeling, but in a
reflected sort of way—and that was a wonderful experience in and of itself, for
many people don’t ever experience such a thing. But Empathy—Empathy knew him,
knew why and how he felt; it was a knowing of identification, for Empathy had,
at one time or another, gone through what Pathos was going through. It was an
intimacy Pathos had never known before. And so when Empathy finally told him she
had to go back to her abode of illuminated darkness, Pathos was understandably

She took Pathos by the hand and said: “Fear not, we are
now one. I have left a little of my light within you, and you have given me a
little of yours. We will forever know one another. We will forever be joined by
the bonds of sharing both suffering and joy. 
And if you want to feel me shining within you brighter than ever, then
pass my light along to someone else.” 
And with those words, Empathy vanished like swirling vapor into the
moonlit sky.

Pathos stood alone once again.  He looked around his world, his stage of
drama, and slowly, carefully, with a heart full of being known and touched, began
crafting his next scene. 

Thank you for your support.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog