"I saw that there are exquisite acts of tenderness lying latent in all of us, waiting only for our permission to come into being."
Elizabeth Berg. Ordinary Life.
How many times have i withheld a tenderness due to tiredness or inattention or hurt of my own.
How many times will i be able to reach into my heart and find these tendernesses from now until the end of my time here?
Who knows how many chances i will get.
I began to berate myself at my meagreness and my incapacity. The chaos in my heart at the moment has had me counting off the withheld tendernesses like a rosary of regret.
But then i realised i was withholding a tenderness from myself.
My tenderness for once needs to reside with me. To not turn on my heart with the big "you should" stick and begin the familiar whacking that has not just been mine but i suspect is my mothers and her mothers and shaped by the hand of women through time and space. My tenderness needs to rise like a soft blanket over my tender and bruised heart and say some thing like;
"Darling. That hurts doesn't it. Be kind treasure-girl. There is no need to rush to make it better for them. First tend to yourself and then reach out. You will be kinder and stronger and more able to be generous if you do. It's ok darling. Take a breather."
And you know what, if i do there is a whole lot more tenderness to go around. By being attentive to my own suffering i am less likely to cause suffering.
I can see much of my suffering is caused by the lack of tenderness in my life. That i am so busy giving in the hope that the equation will balance out one day. I can be the one who is tender to myself.
The character in this very beautiful short story was berating herself and yet i am using that medicine like a poultice to draw out the splinter that longing for tenderness has left in my heart and i am using the balm of that tenderness back on myself. Tenderness is my Medicine.
I have come to see that withholding of tenderness, not automatically pouring it out on others, but to first turn it on myself, is the permission to grow tenderness from within that i have always desired. And denied myself in the hopes that someone will see what a good and giving girl i am.
I am a good and giving girl in my own eyes and that revolutionary thought is growing the wise and strong woman in me like a tap root in loam.