Kind Promise: I will be tender with weaknesses.
Two pews ahead of me, a 10-month-old girl was interacting with the 83-year-old woman sitting in the pew behind her. The baby, held in her mother’s arms, reached over mom’s shoulder toward the old woman, smiling broadly. I know Gen, the older woman. She has had a busy life, raising children, helping her husband (a food chemist at General Mills), starting caring ministries in her church. Now, her mind has dimmed. She is frequently confused. But on that Easter Sunday, she and the baby reached toward each other, smiling. Neither of them would be capable of surviving on her own, but together they loved each other and celebrated life.
This month I am leaning into the promise “I will be tender with weaknesses.”
It is foremost a selfish promise, designed to help me be patient with my increasingly weak, MS-ravaged body. Yes, I react with anger and frustration. That’s natural. I also want to respond with compassion and tenderness. There are no enemies here, just natural processes.
Considering it, I realize that anger and frustration are invitations to practice this promise. They are always in response to things not going my way. Often, but not always, there is weakness involved. I can’t do what I used to be able to do. Someone else can’t do what I expect them to do. It’s not about schedules or willingness; it’s about lack of ability. It’s about weakness.
Gen and the baby show me the way through the anger and frustration. Appreciating the beauty of this moment and each other, they reach out lovingly.
Experiment: when anger/frustrations arise, ask if there is weakness involved. If so, look for beauty, reach out with tender compassion.