Tenderness

I was sharing with a friend about a moment of God’s moving in/on my life…a long forestalled moment. I can be incredibly stubborn and fearful. I thought the moment might be violent, even brutal, so great was my need for God to overwhelm the strongholds in my mind, to stanch so much unhelpful emotion. God all but called me and made an appointment for me with Him, one that I knew I had to keep. But when I got there, I really was afraid to fail to show; it was an easy process, a tender exchange.

Tenderness is a pretty rare commodity. I could count the tender moments that I have known on my fingers. My paucity is in many ways a function of my arrogance, stubbornness and my abhorrence for any form of embarrassment. But there are moments of tenderness in my memory. If they do not involved my children (natural or spiritual) they usually involve someone coming to get me, their wading in to the fray of my combustibility to rescue me from myself.

It happened a lot in college. This is how it would go down. I would  be frustrated, usually with my inability to be kind, compassionate, loving – anything but the stubborn egotist that I was so practiced in portraying. I would get upset – anger is the least vulnerable, and therefore, least embarrassing emotion; so that’s usually where I took my frustration. I would foam…circling but never entering the zone of tears. At some appointed moment, a friend of mine, I have often relayed how long-suffering and kind they were to me, haven’t I? A friend of mine would take my hand, or wrist if I was less cooperative,  and pull me into their arms. I would struggle a bit like a two-year old. But they knew how to disarm me: Tenderness. They would press their chin or cheek against my temple – and hold me still and tight and love me. It undid me every time. I’d stop resisting, just stop, and relax, in tears, into their/God’s embrace and acceptance.

I miss that…

though I don’t need it quite so often…Because now, if I get really still, the pathways to that place are well enough known by my spirit that I can get there without my friend(s)…if I get really still. If…

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