the dream

Melissa Ann Howell Schier
7 min readNov 13, 2023

Nov. 13 2023

Have you ever had a dream that you tried to stay asleep so you could figure out what happened? I had a dream like that. I thought it was about Empathy, but it was actually more about loving children.

I have always thought that Angelina Jolie is beautiful and that her children are beautiful. But then I read about her recent online comments that her dad responded to, saying he was disappointed in her, and I wondered about empathy… her empathy for other countries but not for her ex husband, and her dad’s empathy for other countries but not for his daughter.

All this interest I had in empathy was because of a tweet That Elon made to
“Amplify empathy”. Amplify definition, means to make louder, basically so it has more reach.

But the definition of Empathy is trickier. Empathy supposedly has a root word meaning with Em meaning “in” and pathy comes from the root word pathos meaning feelings. However I thought of the word pathology, and pathology also comes from the word pathos and THAT definition says that pathos means disease, sickness, sadness.

So does having empathy mean to join someone “in sickness”?

The most recent example I had about “empathy” was this commercial that came on when I was watching “band of brothers”. I saw Schwimmer the actor, as real hard ass in the movie, whose lack of empathy for his men actually results in enabling them to survive the war and all the trials and traumas of war. Schwimmer in the movie, looks exactly like my ex husband, a man who was hard on our kids growing up, yet they, like the band of brothers, have done really well as adults.

And in the middle of this movie, “band of brothers” was a commercial about M&M’s being “empathetic” towards an Olaf looking snowman so they bring him in out of the snow “where he was all alone” to sit with them by the fire. But their empathy does not help him survive in fact it shows him dissolving like the witch in the wizard of oz. The M&M’s were the opposite of Schwimmer in Band of Brothers.

So if the suggestion to “amplify” empathy was said jokingly by Elon, If I applied that thinking to this commercial perhaps it could be seen was a warning to the snowman, because I am convinced that empathy cannot happen from a distance (amplified) and also that empathy does not necessarily equip people for success or survival.

Or perhaps the commercial it was a back lash warning to the rainbow colored M&M’s as well, because candy melts too, in your mouth and by a fire…lol.

Empathy by definition, can truly mean that when one joins another person in trouble, they then are “in disease”, “in sickness”, “in sadness” “in desire to sin”, “in affliction” also.

I actually know people who spend all their time feeling sorry for others who are diseased (because of their own poor life choices about diet and exercise), begin to show signs of the same disease.

Is empathy mistakenly viewed as a constructive emotion when it should be replaced with healing? Instead of rejecting disease, those who wallow in it and try to justify it or explain it, seem to embrace it in their thinking. It appears it is not in the best interests of healing to do such.

We are admonished by our government to “judge not” yet isn’t empathy joining in disease instead of healing it? Sounds like a mistake to me to employ empathy instead of employing healing. And healing starts with admitting the mistake, the disease, the wrong doing.

Jesus led the way to how to handle people with problems by demonstrating healing. He did not “step into the pit” with those who were suffering and instead healed them. Jesus did not mislead them, because he was helping them know the way to choose life.

My randomly chosen bible verse for today was 1 John 8 9
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

If we wish healing, according to this, must acknowledge what we have done wrong first in order to receive forgiveness from God. And comments of empathy, which has been amplified from a distance, (using social media to virtue signal without healing) destroys, and is not pure, nor kind nor good.

I saw an example of “empathy” in my dream, probably triggered by the Elon Musk tweet.

So my dream was about being on an extended vacation in this high rise building in another country and realizing that I shared the building with Angelina Jolie and her little blond twins and Shiloh when she was younger. She was not friendly but she was not mean either, she was just abrupt when I would pass by her in the narrow hallways…it was in like a third world country so the hotel or resort was small and not fancy. I would see her coming and going and the kids were sometimes out on the deck playing and I admired their beauty as they took after their parents and she was still married.

Then it turned out that both of our husbands were going out somewhere and she wanted me to accompany her on an excursion into town. We ended up stopping in a room full of people, after walking a long time, and the people started talking to her one at a time but became more and more “intense” and loud and one person even turned on the TV to drown her out as she was talking. I do not remember what she was saying only that she did not get ruffled by what they were saying and seemed resolute.

I was disappointed as I waited in that room, that I did not get to talk to her myself, and surprisingly at that moment she turned to me and said “we do not have to stay here, we can go back”. So we both got up and walked out and I was surprised that she even cared what I thought. On the way back she was talkative about her kids and I could tell that she cared about them.

I woke up when we were going back and wanted to know what she was going to say when we got where ever we were going, so I went back to sleep to find out and the dream came back and I was with her in her place and got to play with her kids. The babies liked me a lot and I was so happy to be able to see the kids. She did not really talk about anything …but she wanted me to get to know her kids. So I did. And I was grateful that she did not ignore me.

So was the dream about her showing me empathy? Or was it about Elon saying to amplify empathy…show empathy to people you do not usually show it to…in which case it can be destructive for that person instead of healing them.

Throwing water on the witch because she was on fire did not keep her from being burned because she dissolved in water. What seems helpful might actually not be. However if ever Empathy is appropriate, it seems to be most appropriate when it helps a person achieve longevity and when it is demonstrated in person.

Instead of getting caught up in the words Empathy, and amplify, I am going to remember that Jesus said we are to be like little children…and not mislead them or cause them to do things that are self destructive. We are to be healers.

heal | Etymology, origin and meaning of heal by etymonline
health (n.) Old English hælþ “wholeness, a being whole, sound or well,” from Proto-Germanic *hailitho, from PIE *kailo- “whole, uninjured, of good omen” (source also of Old English hal “hale, whole;” Old Norse heill “healthy;” Old English halig, Old Norse helge “holy, sacred;” Old English hælan “to heal”

When Angelina believed that her children were being victimized, she did not relent in her attack against her perceived enemy. She did not give any grace or forgiveness or empathy.

Her post however, about foreign affairs, appears to amplify empathy because it seems to ask for forgiveness and grace to be given to a distant people. Is it really empathy when someone “amplifies” it? If Empathy does not heal, and actually emboldens aggression, is it a mistake that needs to be confessed in order to be forgiven?

What was in my dream, seemed like real empathy, but what has happened in real life seems like it was amplified and contrived.

Do those multicolored chocolates in the commercial I saw, who sit on the couch in front of the fire place and bring in the snowman to melt, judge rightly or is their misplaced and amplified empathy intentional, to melt, degrade and eventually destroy a society that has tried to be one nation under God?

Is the desire for fame or the manipulation of TV or social media drowning out the real and good intentional voices of a nation of people. Empathy might be helpful work in families but only when longevity for the family is achieved. Providing short term gratification does not constitute valid empathy, and neither does virtue signalling empathy from afar.

Jesus did heal from a distance, but only when the person wanting to have healing, had faith, trusted God and wanted forgiveness from wrong doings. All the healings I can think about in the bible happened when the people stopped doing what they were doing that was wrong…such as seeing supply as limited, or seeing sickness as real.

I interpret all this to mean that it is not death to acknowledge having done wrong, and then sincerely ask for forgiveness; it is life. And little ones do not try to understand or empathize with disease or sickness, they just express joy, innocence and purity. We can do that, like little children, and be free.

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Melissa Ann Howell Schier

HoustonWorkout on YouTube, mom of five, journalist and artist and conservative who values life.