Dressed in Gentleness: When Someone Loves What You Dislike

This past February had been long and difficult.  When life gets this way, I tend to compound matters by doubting myself and my design. God chose to make me into a gigantic “feeler,” and often times, I cannot stand it. As a matter of fact, one of my questions for the comment box that I envision hanging on the pearly gates before you walk into Heaven will pertain to this creative decision by the Potter’s hand.

I woke up one morning that cold, dreary month almost offended that another day had arrived.

Didn’t I JUST do this yesterday? And now I have to DO IT all over again??!

I sat down at my computer and opened up my email. There was a message from my friend, Sydney. She had forwarded me her daily devotional from Henri Nouwen.

I opened it and at first, I laughed out loud. I read what she wrote not fully taking in its meaning and got tickled because I LOVE how she always extended her “O’s” for certain words. Two of her favorite uses were reserved for the words ‘so’ and ‘love.’ Immediately, I felt better and I wondered when I would see her monogram changed to “SSSSSSBBBBBBGGGGGG.”

I refocused and read her email to me.

And then I cried, because I am a “feeler.”

Feb. 10, 2011

This is SOOOOOOO YOU!!!!!!!!!!  I LOVE YOU, Syd.

“Dressed in Gentleness

Once in a while we meet a gentle person. Gentleness is a virtue hard to find in a society that admires toughness and roughness. We are encouraged to get things done and to get them done fast, even when people get hurt in the process. Success, accomplishment, and productivity count. But the cost is high. There is no place for gentleness in such a milieu.

Gentle is the one who does “not break the crushed reed, or snuff the faltering wick” (Matthew 12:20). Gentle is the one who is attentive to the strengths and weaknesses of the other and enjoys being together more than accomplishing something. A gentle person treads lightly, listens carefully, looks tenderly, and touches with reverence. A gentle person knows that true growth requires nurture, not force. Let’s dress ourselves with gentleness. In our tough and often unbending world our gentleness can be a vivid reminder of the presence of God among us.”

There is something very beautiful about being known and loved in the areas that you dislike about yourself. That is the beauty of living in community because others can speak words of life into the parts of your heart and soul that feel like death or a burden. It is helpful to have a different perspective than your own especially when the personal one is fraught of years and years of negative affirmation and association.

Sydney encouraged me that day to see that there was something lovely and special about my design. And I am sooooooooooooo thankful to have known her and been known by her. I hope to take the words to heart even more now that she is gone and the surprise emails and notes of encouragement will no longer come, which is the beauty of a memory saved and remembered. It can be missed but not forgotten.

Too, I hope that I will do the same for someone else when I read or hear something that reminds me of their special design. Maybe they also will feel a “vivid reminder of the presence of God among us” and be blessed as I was that day to see myself in a different, more gentle light.

Feb. 7, 2011

thank you for sending me this sydney. you are so dear to me.

That’s the irony of you sending me this. You make me feel this way. There is something so stabilizing and comforting to me when i am with you that makes me feel not hurried and at rest. It’s nothing you ‘do’, it’s just who you are. 🙂 You’re medicine for my soul.

You’ve always reminded me of a big sister:).

Hope PT goes well. I’m so proud of you. You have been through the fire these last few months, and you are still willing to try and rise(stand:). i admire that so much in you. you.are.one.brave.chick.

much love. always.
carrie

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