Updated on December 20, 2021
Doug Tales 45: Doug as an Empath, Part Two
An empath is able to sense, perceive and literally feel the emotions of other people. Doug Mendenhall became an empath for a short while during the time his youngest daughter was in the hospital in 1999. A friend taught him then how to let those feelings pass through him to Jesus Christ, and not keep holding on to them. Doug shares those events in My Peace I Give Unto You (2001), pages 76-82:
I left the house and drove to the hospital. My mind was racing with the wonder of what I was experiencing. I purposefully parked at the back of the hospital lot. The walk outside in the cold night air seemed very appealing all of a sudden. As I came closer to the main doors I realized that I had locked my keys in the truck. My next encounter with Dianne would not be pleasant… I … went directly to the elevators. Dianne and Denise waited upstairs for me…
“Well it’s about time. I called home and they said you left over two and a half hours ago. Where have you been?” Dianne didn’t waste a moment dressing me down as I entered Denise’s room. Denise quickly closed her eyes to feign sleep.
I looked upon my wife and knew her as I had never known her before. I shared that moment of worry and anger with her. “I’m so sorry. I stopped off at Mike’s house and lost track of time.” Her emotions became charged with sadness. I felt a tinge of abandonment and loneliness creep in.
“Well that’s just great. Just forget about me and the fact that I have things I need to do.” Her face only mirrored a fraction of what I knew she felt. I stood motionless.
“Well, give me the keys, I’m late as it is.”
I knew that I was going to be inundated by a new barrage of emotions after my next sentence and I knew of no way to brace for it.
“I locked the keys in the truck.” I said quietly.
No sooner had those words left my lips than disappointment and anger surfaced as the dominant emotions in my wife. I felt the physical discomfort my words caused and felt extreme remorse for my actions. I couldn’t believe that I could cause such anguish in someone I so loved. She turned around to hide her face from me as she gathered tolerance and patience to her.
“I’m sorry dear, I’ll call someone right now to bring the spare set of keys. I’m so sorry.” My words never had been more sincere for I understood my wife as she did herself. I lived that moment of her life with her.
I quickly made a number of calls to friends and neighbors but had no success in finding someone to help. I finally tried Mike even though I assumed that he and Ruth would still be out running errands. Not only was he home but he seemed most anxious to help me out.
“Mike is going to bring up the spare set of keys.” I felt relieved as I gave the news to Dianne.
“Hi Da..” Denise ‘awoke’ once she felt the tension ease. Even though her enunciation faltered her adorable half smile shined bright.
“How’s my sweetie?” Tears welled up in my eyes as I felt her gratitude for having me there.
She nodded, “uh huh” Though she was progressing at a miraculous rate, exhaustion often overcame her in the evening and her communication became more a series of grunts rather than words.
I hugged her and was stunned by the love and comfort she felt from it. It was an incredible gift to feel what others received from my simple actions.
“Well, are you going to tell me what happened at Mike’s?” Dianne had accepted the result of my actions and decided to move beyond them.
“Well, after talking for a few minutes, Mike set me in front of a movie he had rented, then left with Ruth to run errands.” I started. “The movie became a powerful spiritual experience for me. As I watched it I understood how our Father and Christ are in everything. It was like a second testimony to what I had already thought I knew…” I could feel Dianne open towards me as she attempted to understand what I was telling her. I continued on with the experience of floating and the realization of what I was feeling. I told her of the little boy downstairs and what I felt in the elevator.
She asked, “Are you experiencing that with me?”
“Yes, and I’m so sorry I caused you that pain and loneliness.” Dianne’s eyes got big. She understood that we were sharing more than just a physical moment in time. She got up and walked over to me from the chair by the window and peered into my eyes.
“They are dilated…does that mean you can still feel the other children here, too?” She attentively gazed at me.
“Yes.” I answered and turned my attention away from the experience that was Dianne and opened up to all that was beyond the walls of the room. All of a sudden I felt what I had in the elevator. This time I let all that “energy” rush into me as I shared the life of many sick children. The longer I concentrated on it, the worse I started to feel physically. I was suddenly nauseated and weak. I felt a headache grow swiftly behind my eyes. I needed to sit down before I fell.
“Doug? Are you all right? You don’t look so good, dear.” Dianne’s concern wrapped around me but did nothing to halt the degeneration of my physical state.
“There is so much pain and fear here. I can’t believe what these kids live with.” I sat down in the chair next to Denise’s bed. “I feel horrible, Dianne.”
Denise watched with fascination as I continued to suffer from the pains of those around us. For the first time since I entered in the love, I felt fear. I didn’t know how to stop what was happening to me.
“Hi Doug, Dianne and hello to you, young lady.” Mike walked through the half-closed door with a large smile and swinging a set of keys.
“Thank you so much Mike, you’re a life saver.” Dianne quickly smiled and moved to collect the car keys from Mike.
“Cherry, I hope. I love cherry Life Savers,” he said more for Denise than for us. Denise gave him the smile he wanted.
Dianne tucked the keys away in her purse and turned back to me sitting by Denise’s bed. “I’m sorry to run like this, but I need to get home to the other kids. Thanks again so much for bringing up the spare set of keys, Mike. Bye my little darling, take care of Daddy.” Dianne hugged and kissed Denise goodbye.
“I’ll see you in the morning, dear.” She turned to me and gave me a kiss. “Doug, you need to do something, you really don’t look well.” This time she hesitated as if she wasn’t sure whether or not to leave me. I felt her deep love and concern for me. My eyes teared up again and I smiled at her.
“Thank you, Dianne, for your love. You get going, I’ll be okay. I’ll call you later tonight.” I motioned for her to leave. She hesitated, then left the room.
After Dianne’s departure I quickly filled in Mike concerning all that had happened since he left me watching that movie at his house.
“Well, that explains why you look so bad now,” he replied. “You’re taking in everybody’s pain and sickness and keeping it.”
“What? I don’t understand what you’re saying, Mike,” I said, yet all of a sudden I did understand. I knew exactly what he meant about me keeping their pain. I felt it and drew it into me and I was affected by it as if I was them. “Okay, then what do I do? I don’t think I can take much more of this.”
“Let it pass through you to Christ,” Mike simply replied.
“How do I do that?” I asked.
“Tell it to pass through you…seriously, tell it to pass through.” He insisted despite my look of disbelief.
“Please let the feelings and emotions pass through me,” I said. No difference, I still felt horrible. “Pass through me.”
This time I felt a perceptible change and then it was gone. The pain and nausea, headache, everything was gone and I could feel the love once again without the defining pain.
“You did it. I can tell because you look alive again.” Mike smiled at me. “There have been others that could do what you have just done. They had to learn to let it pass through them like you just did. Remember Doug, only Christ can keep and handle another’s pain. We can share it with them but only He can take it and survive.”
I sat stunned for a minute as I considered what he had just said. I knew he was right. This was an incredible gift of understanding and love. I wondered about my Savior who could take in all that pain and heal it. I enjoyed the love around us and decided to ponder on it later that night while I was alone.
“Thank you for showing me how to handle it,” I said.
“Anytime. I need to get going. Just remember to let it pass through you.” He ended his visit with a few words for Denise and left as suddenly as he arrived. After he left I spent a while thinking about everything that had occurred and offered up my gratitude to my Savior for all He had taught me.