This is a difficult time for many.  Terrible things are happening.
… The people of Ukraine have been invaded and are at war. 
… Israel, Palestine, Gaza – say those words and people “take sides.”
… People flee their homes in the hope of finding refuge.
… Fear, anger, loneliness, suspicion, hatred permeate conversations
… It’s Holy Week for millions around the world.
This is a difficult time for many.

The concept of ‘gentleness’ … the quality of being kind … comes to mind.  Gentleness has disappeared and is no longer present. Why?
Can gentleness exist when fear overwhelms?
… Can gentleness exist when suspicion transcends reason?
… Can gentleness exist when anger rages?
… Can gentleness exist when hatred fuels communities, families, elections, countries, politicians so that there is no space for hope to filter in, for fear to be lifted, for hatred to dissipate?

Being gentle does *not* mean ignoring the role we can play by
… being a voice for the voiceless
… righting wrongs
… challenging principalities and powers by our words, thoughts, actions, prayers.


Being gentle *does* mean
… speaking in tones and words that don’t threaten
… acting in ways that don’t incite
… “thinking through” situations and responding rather than reacting.
… listening to the voices of those who have walked similar paths before us: Gandhi, Anne Frank, Malala, Martin Luther King Jr., Jesus, Elie Wiesel, the Dalai Lama and many others.

Being gentle *does* mean
… not giving power to hurtful words in personal emails, social media posts, phone calls, snail mail letters
… focus on addressing wrongs in our own community we’ve overlooked or ignored in the past because it was happening to *the other* and not to us, because we didn’t want to get involved, or we didn’t think it would make a difference.

Hurtful words and actions can become activators.  They can push us forward so we give financial support to organizations who are being threatened; offer sanctuary in our homes, our cities, our countries; speak gentle words of strength, courage, steadfastness and hope to those who are deeply wounded by the rhetoric and chaos.

Embodying a life of gentleness could mean much to individuals, families, communities, countries and this world.

May we be gentle with one another. May we be gentle with ourselves.  “Be gentle with yourself and others.  You are a child of the Universe.  So are they.  You have a right to be here.  They do, too.  So let us be gentle with others and ourselves.”
<an adaptation of American writer Max Ehrmann who penned the “Desiderata.”>



© June Maffin