"Where other people feel kicked by an unkind word, the poet feels disemboweled."
Empathetic and strongly-sensitive people are a unique breed, often dismissed as "too sensitive," "emotional," or "irrational." Others wonder why we can't just "lighten-up."
In describing the emotional makeup of Rich Mullins, the late Christian songwriter who penned, "Our God Is An Awesome God," Brennan Manning described Rich's sometimes tumultuous interior world this way:
Much of his pain...came from the fact that he saw too much and felt too much. His mother, Neva, said, 'He could see the pain in another person even before they could see it themselves.' Poets are a unique breed of human beings. They ricochet between agony and ecstasy because they take everything so personally. Where other people feel kicked by an unkind word, the poet feels disemboweled. The slightest provocation can induce a fit of weeping or a fit of ecstasy. Others cannot understand why he does what he does, and the poet is often downright clueless himself.
Rich Mullins often endured loneliness, as many people do, but he suffered in a way unknown to most of us. Such extraordinary sensitivity is a blessing and a heartache.
- Brennan Manning, Foreward to An Arrow Pointing to Heaven
Perhaps, for us creative types and sensitive souls, our scale does tip towards emotional succeptibility: Or perhaps we just live more unmasked than others. There are indeed vulnerable chinks in our armour - scales and plates have fallen off - and because of that, our armour can weigh less than the self-protective shell of others.
I would rather be swayed by pain and passion than subjugated under a calloused stoicism or insensitive denialism. Don't forget: Your empathy and vulnerability means your heart is alive. Your glory and your anguish come from the same spark.