Thursday, September 6, 2012
Gentleness is Careful
“Gentleness means recognizing that the world around us is fragile, especially other people. It is recognizing our own capacity to do harm and choosing instead to be tender, soft-spoken, soft-hearted, and careful. When we are gentle we touch the world in ways that protect and preserve it. Being gentle doesn't mean being weak; gentleness can be firm, even powerful. To behave in a gentle manner requires that we stay centered in our own values and strength -- that we are active rather than reactive. Coming from this center, a gentle word or touch can channel our energy into healing or making peace.” The Wisdom Page
This week, on Kingdom Bloggers, we are exploring the fruit of the Spirit of gentleness. I cannot help thinking of this attribute, apart from the tenderness, of a mother towards her child.
Although my mother cared for me as a child, it was another time I remembered.
I was a young mother and had suffered from severe back pain, since I was 15. The doctors I went to could not conclusively diagnose the problem, until 3 years ago. I went to a Neurosurgeon and ultimately had fusion surgery.
During those earlier years, I had seen various specialists and the conclusion was either… there is nothing wrong …to… there is nothing we can do for you surgically.
I had 3 myelograms, on separate occasions. It is a test, in which they withdraw spinal fluid and replace it with dye to detect abnormalities. One of the side effects was terrible headaches. Mine lasted for a week, in which the pain was so bad; I could not even lift my head from the pillow. I was bedridden the whole time. Anytime I lifted my head, it exacerbated the pain. It had to do with them messing around with the spinal fluid.
My mother cared for me for all three times. I remember the last one, as it was the worst. What is still vivid to me, was her coming to my bedside, with cool washcloths, trying to lessen the pain. Even though I was an adult, in my late 20’s, I relished the care of my mom. Her very presence relieved some of my pain and anxiety. The role she chose was to be gentle and attend to me.
I thought about another mother. It was this photo, which appeared in Life magazine, years ago. It’s a black and white picture, which is at once haunting and also depicting a deep love of a mother towards her child. She is bathing her daughter in a bathing chamber in Japan.
When I first saw this, I was face to face with a depiction of a mother’s sacrificial and undying love toward her child.
Her daughter, Tomoko, was afflicted with Minamata disease. She became severely deformed, as a result of toxic methyl mercury that was dumped into the sea by a Company in Japan. It affected sea creatures and then in turn, humans. People were left deformed, blind, paralyzed, insane and even at times, they died.
How this depiction of attentiveness, mirrors the Lord’s love for us!
We are afflicted with deformity and darkness of spirit. We are blind and dead in our sins. We are, in essence, poisoned and tainted by the sin in the Garden. However, like this mother, the Lord does not discard us. He is our parent and we are his child. He will tenderly care for us because we are part of Him and belong to Him. He is not put off by our utter need for Him.
This family agreed to this photo being used to make the disease of Minamata something that was not ignored or hidden away. They hoped that it would place an awareness of the cause and consequences of this horrible malady.
In the Word of God … through nature… through other’s testimonies…through love shown to one another…through miracles…He makes know His love for all to see. Death and destruction against a commitment on His part, to care for His children, cannot stand. Even in the sickness of sin…especially in the darkness and death of sin...He is by our side.
Just as my mom “showing up”, may it be so, that when the Lord shows up on the scene, that people would experience a relief, simply because He is present.
And just like Tomoko’s mother, let others see that He is there, not when they are whole. Let them see, their utter need to be attended by such gentleness and care, when they need Him the most.