Every time I go into a bookstore to pick up a greeting card for someone for a special occasion, like a birthday, I always stop when I come across the one with two small children, always a boy and a girl, walking on the beach somewhere, hand in hand. It is very ‘Anne Geddes’ in the level of baby cuteness but the composition really sets these apart to make it truly stunning. The quote accompanying this sepia toned photograph is, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to far, go together”. It never fails to move me and each time I feel like I am reading it for the first time. It maybe because of the guilt trip I get going out to buy something for someone, instead of going the it’- the-thought-that-counts route of bringing out my stationery to make my own card from scratch, like I used to. Nowadays I just buy pre-made cards, but there is always a part of me that feels hollow and disappointed, because I feel that it’s impersonal, and I could have done it better by doing it myself.
The quote also speaks to me about what empathy is. It’s about taking your time to get to know the other person, seeing what they see, trying to get a sense of how they feel. It may mean that you have to slow down, not because you are testing your own patience and fighting the urge to go faster than a speed of light, but because by doing so, you’ll learn something.