Gentleness is another of those fruit that I find difficult to cultivate. It's not hard for me to feel like a bull in a china shop, or a labrador puppy in a canoe. Many ways to upset the balance, lots of stuff that may end up crashing to the floor. So how can I get on board with the Holy Spirit in making me more gentle?
Maybe the door is a good example. If I think of the door as an entity in itself, I get annoyed at having to slow down and close it gently. But when I remember that letting it slam affects the entire house, I have a metaphor that reminds me of our inter-connectedness. Lack of gentleness has repercussions. Like the man who yells at the wife, who yells at the kid who kicks the dog.
And I think it's connected to values as well: if I can learn to value the house, and its integrity, it will be easier for me to change my actions and habits. Likewise, if I commit to valuing the welfare of my community, I will seek gentleness, becoming open to noticing and responding carefully to the fragility around me. In this I will follow the path of Jesus, who "did not break a bruised reed or put out a smoldering wick". (Matt 12:20)