On my blog I am currently in the middle of a mini series about gentleness called Golden, because to me gentleness is golden. This is my fourth post in the series. I have been using some analogies about gold to describe important characteristics of gentleness. The more I read about gold the more it seems like a fitting metaphor.
This week I learned gold is commonly considered non-toxic. Gold metal flakes can even be eaten!
Also, gold jewelry is not made with pure gold alone. It is an alloy; a combination of metals. This helps it serve it’s purpose as jewelry better. When combined with other metals, it is strengthened while still keeping it’s loveliness.
Which brings me back to todays post; gentleness is strengthened when combined with the offering of our simple presence to others.
In my twenties my health set limits for me,
reducing my college experience to living with my parents at home,
only allowing me to take a few classes at a time.
The chronic pain lasted for around six years, with no end in sight.
During those years I learned;
A gentle presence is a strong medicine and it can often seem rare.
So today I want to suggest 3 ways to offer a “gentle presence”, especially to those experiencing pain or disappointment. There are many expressions of gentleness, today I am simply sharing 3 that helped me the most.
Then at the end there is a special story I would love for you to listen to. It is the story of my dear friend Erin and her daughter Hazel.
3 Ways to Offer a Gentle Presence
1. Simply be there; maybe hold off on the tendency to fix and to judge.
“In my relationships, when I see a need I think needs fixing, a conversation I don’t know how to tackle, a grief I have no words for, I’m tempted to make things complicated and fast-moving -let’s pull out the city plans, build the roadways and sidewalks straight to your heart. But people don’t need fancy and flashy, they probably just want regular. They don’t need a fixer, they need a journeyer. They just need to sit on a bench with someone else so they know they’re not alone. I know this because it’s what I need too.” Simply Tuesday, Emily P Freeman
“Quiet presence in the company of the bereft-providing neither answers nor hasty platitudes- is among the highest and humblest ways we live out Jesus’ teaching on kindness. ” Love Kindness , Barry H. Corey
2. Offer a lightness; a humble heart or sensitive words. Wounds are tender and a lightness can help heal. Don’t underestimate the value of light conversation; discussing the mundane or the everyday events. The lightness of laughter can also be gentle; lifting a heavy spirit.
I think about my nephew Finn who is such a character. I mean it just makes me smile when he walks in the room. He brings people joy with his humor.
I also think about the affection of my 2 year son old Oliver, telling Jeff every evening as he walks in the door “Daddy, I’m so glad your home.”
I wonder when Jesus said “Let the little children come unto me”, if his heart needed a little lightness in the midst of a lot of serious or critical adults?
The simple, the light, and the seemingly small, can crumble the heaviest wall.
Gentleness is strong.
3. Allow for openness; let feelings be felt and let pride or certainty fade.
“Kindness involves the willingness to come out from behind my projected invincibility and acknowledge that my life is messy and uncertain. As counterintuitive as it might seem, when others see our authenticity, we become more attractive and more approachable. We become more receivable.” Love Kindness, Barry H Corey
I touched on this idea last week in A Poem and a Prayer for the Month of April. April means “to open”.
As it turned out, during church two weeks ago right before planning to write about’being open before the Lord’, my close friend Erin shared her story of heartache, hope, comfort, adoption, and becoming Hazel’s Mom.
Her willingness to share her story is an example of how vulnerability can strengthen others.
I hope you will listen to her story. She is a Social Worker, mom, wife, and friend who also has a gift with words and telling a story! I am sharing a link below. Start around minute 26 in the video. Erin’s story (starts around 26 minutes and 20 seconds)
These are two pictures I hold dear to my heart.
The first one is us at Starbucks.We have been meeting together for encouragement and prayer several years now. Little did I know the special news she was planning to share that night. This was the day she told me her plans to adopt. God must have nudged me to bring her some of my backyard flowers that specific evening on purpose.
The second picture I was just sent today (Monday) after this whole post was already written a few days ago. It is of Hazel’s sweet hand. For her baby dedication this past Sunday her Grandma gave her a picture Bible and her Grammy gave her a *golden ring worn by her when she was a baby too.
Hope & Love in Christ,