cultivating gentleness

The last several months around here have felt very raw and awkward. There is a fragility which hangs in the air of my house, and surrounds each of us in it’s own way. He retreats from it. I try to fight it. I have always been that way; prone to clawing back when I am hurt, like an injured animal. Just as he has always responded by running to a quiet place and waiting things out. When the two of us are both in this space, the result is cyclical and terrible.

I have always been fairly organized with my time, and always overly ambitious. I have had a great deal of trouble adjusting to the fact that I now have so little control over my time, and it seems I never, never finish things in the time frame I would like to, if at all. My solution to this, of course, is to work harder. To do more. To be even less forgiving with myself and everyone around me. It is a terrible habit of impatience.

And so, I am trying to remind myself to cultivate gentleness. To be kinder with myself, and especially with him. To remind myself to carry his heart like a bird, rather than a stone. To remind myself to carry my own heart the same way. To be accepting of the imperfections of this life. It’s surprising to me how difficult this can sometimes be. How much tending this gentleness requires. How tender it is, and how fragile.

My hope is that in time, we will see this collection of misplaced words and grudges against ourselves as something which adds a richness to our lives. That someday we will feel less ragged and threadbare, and more like an old weathered chair whose velvet seat has long ago worn bare in spots, but whose softness is unmatched, and whose worn wooden arms have a warm smoothness to them which aligns perfectly with your hand.

I am trying to do little things to get us there. Extra reminders, small kindnesses. Daily tending of us to keep away the frost, provide just enough warmth and light, and strengthen our roots.

What little everyday things do you do to care your family or yourself on those days when everything feels tenuous and frail?

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