Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Small Steps Together: Gentleness...

     When some people blog, I read their words like I am thirsty. I drink them in, allowing the words to work on my world-weary heart and soul, and wait for the parched land of my spirit to be renewed. I know what I am feeling, I just appreciate it when some else is able to beautifully explain it in prose.

     Last week, as I read Elizabeth Foss and her post about gentleness, I felt as if she was speaking directly to me. For you see, I have found lately that I am not as gentle with my husband. With my children. With myself. I recognize that some of it has to do with just the wildness of the world. The busyness of life. The ever-complicated dance of balance....

     When I look at my husband, I mean REALLY look, I see a gentle, generous soul who made me fall so quickly in love. He truly believes in the goodness of everyone, and as we journey together on this path of life, I recognize what he has had to deal with. How hard must it have been for him when we were having trouble conceiving? Years of infertility that in time, changed my personality. Together, we endured thoughtless words of well-meaning people.... things such as:

So don't you WANT children?
Didn't you agree to have children in your vows?
You aren't being a good Catholic.
Why are your babies so far apart?
Don't you think that it is a little selfish?

    Even today, I can still hear the words and a little piece of my heart is still being mended. I feel my temper rise, just like it did then. Usually I would feel the need to defend ourselves, other times, the tears would come uncontrollably hot and fast. Sometimes, I didn't recognize myself when I would just scream into the void my anger. My frustration. My misplaced guilt. And yet, my Tom would simply enfold me in his arms, whisper words of love and understanding. Allow me to scream and wail. And his gentleness was more powerful than anything I often tell his that what I love about him is his gentle strength. Oh how I pray that I can repay that gentleness....

     And what about Joe and Max? Well, truthfully, the baby is easy. His laugh and grin help me to slow down and see the beauty of life so clearly.

     Ah... and then... there's my Joe. I suppose that when I think that he should know something, or do something that we have told him thousands of time before, I do get a little hot-tempered and the frustrated sighs and words happen faster. But really? He is still a child. My child. The one that came when all hope seemed lost. So why can I not take a deep breath, say a prayer for knowledge, and gently help him through it? For isn't this is my job? To nurture and guide and teach? Well, this gentleness is my goal. Truly. Especially since our whole lifestyle is changing and he is going to be home with me....

     So as I reached the end of Elizabeth's post and these powerful words of hers.... this is what struck my heart:

Whether we are growing closer to God or growing closer to people, it's not about checklists. It's about relationships.
Relationships beg coming alongside, walking together.
School is finished. Now begins the real work of cultivating a teachable spirit.
It's about listening.
It's about serving.
It's about nurturing. 
It's about loving.
It's about a gentle spirit.
All the time.
      As I pray for gentleness, I also thank God for the ability to learn from my mistakes. For the grace to continue on despite things that I may have done before. This struggle, this .... life ..... is about so much more than getting. It is about giving.

     How grateful I am to the three special people in my household who make me so glad to be alive, and who love me beyond measure despite my brokenness. And oh how I hope to give them gentleness in return.....

    Today, I am gratefully linking here:


  1. So beautifully and gently stated Mary Jo.

    Grace and peace to you my friend!

  2. And my wish is to become more like you:)
    Love you!

  3. Being gentle with yourself is a huge beginning! Great blog, MJ.


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