There's a sign taped on the door to our garage. It states: "Close gently, please". I wrote it for myself after several reminders from my husband that in certain situations (all doors closed in the house, including the garage door) the house acts as a wind tunnel, and if I'm not careful the afore mentioned door will slam in such a way that the house will shudder. I, being fairly oblivious to this phenomenon, had to be convinced and then reminded, several times. At which point, finding it more pleasant to remind myself, I taped the note to the door.

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)

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