Sadness and destruction abound as we hear stories of recent tornadoes throughout the United States, threat of war in the middle east, killings in schools, rancor in politics, untimely deaths and difficulties in daily life. Being upset with someone is often easier than checking out possible misconceptions or working through disagreements and misunderstanding. There are images, however, that tell a different story.
In the midst of devastating natural disasters and tragedies people realize that strength lies in coming together and supporting one another. Former strangers take time to help. People in Chardon, Ohio lined streets to pay their respects to students killed in the deadly high school shooting and to support families and friends. In the midst of sadness people come together in community embracing gentleness as a response to the uncertainties of life. What is gentleness?
Gentleness is being considerate or kind in disposition, not harsh or severe. Gentleness refuses to use power to hurt someone and is unwilling to put people down, wound, retaliate or control. Gentleness seeks understanding and right relationship. Gentleness is not being weak rather finds peaceful ways to stand for what is right and just. Quiet times of prayer can strengthen gentleness within us.
Stillness nurtures gentleness as we ask our Creating God for wisdom and guidance. (Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God”). In stillness God is God, not other people or situations.
Lent invites us to gentleness and stillness to know again deep within who we are and how we are in relationship with others.
Blessings and peace,
Suggestion for reflection: How am I gentle? Do I feel gentleness as weakness or strength? What keeps me from being gentle? How am I still? Where do I find stillness?