September 7, 2017

Finding Rest in Gentleness




It was a house where you felt welcome the moment you stepped into it. 
It took you in . . . rested you.

(Mistress Pat, LM Montgomery)


With so much trauma, disaster and degredation in the world these days, I struggle with writing gentleness. As a freedom-schooled child of liberals in the seventies and eighties, I did my part protesting, and volunteering, and applying my dollar judiciously. You would assume I'd use my small platform here to speak against the awfulness that happens every day. And sometimes, I wish to do so. Other times, I am simply too overwhelmed.

Mostly though I think it may be just as helpful to write gentleness. After all, the world is in such a terrible state because for too long ... perhaps forever ... we have lacked gentleness with each other, with our environment, and with other living beings who share this world. You'd suppose it would get better as more people could afford comfort and so were less desperate, less frightened; but really it's only getting worse.

And so let me tell you about the little flowers I bought today. A pot of pansies, a pot of alyssum. I planted them in vintage tea cups for my laundry shelves. Each plant was $1.50, which is a tenth the price of a flower bouquet, so if they last only a week or two in their cosy containers, I don't mind - although generally they go much longer.

I think there is not much more inviting and cheerful in a home than flowers. Not the glossy store-bought kind that seem rather unreal, but garden flowers, wild flowers, living plants. They draw the mind into a smallness, a quiet focus, so that for a while I can pretend America doesn't even exist, nor North Korea, and all is the innocence and beauty of the garden.

It's not that I wish to turn my face away uncaringly, only that if I forget gentleness and loveliness, I fall into despair.

If my blogging lately is rather cutesy, it's because I want to create words like flowers, in the hope they offer a moment of gentle peace. This is my way of contributing - a quiet voice alongside the important shouted protests. I still think those protests are vital. For example, I believe as many Americans as possible should camp out infront of the White House and other key buildings, unmoving, until change happens. But they would not be able to do so without warm drinks and blankets to give them strength. Those who can stand, or shout, do so! And those who have warmth and comfort to give - we need that urgently too. 


5 comments:

  1. Oh, that house up there would do me nicely... re your earlir post. ;-)

    I get what you're saying about overwhelm - I feel the same. And despite that my style of talking probably comes off a lot spikier and dynamic than yours, I too seek calm, roadside bouquets, tea and blankets. We must protest injustice, yes, but all that shouting gets on my nerves too. It really isn't that hard to get along if you just yield - not surrender, but simply let others be different without getting upset, keep the traffic flowing without pushing, lend a hand.

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  2. I have strong beliefs, I'm liberal minded, and a political junkie.. I love current events. But there I stop. Though I'm against all things Trump, I'm not a protester.. my inner peace is more important to me than saving the world. That may sound selfish, but I have learned to listen and respect my inner me. So I combine knowledge of world events with flowers and poems and star gazing. I strive to keep tension and stress at bay.. says this aging hippie. ♥

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  3. oh, i like the gentleness, as a refuge. there is so much to be worried about, and yes---a lot of activism that needs to be ongoing---and those things take a toll on empaths and introverts such as me... this week, for example, in addition to normal household things and work things, i have been in touch with people going back to their flooded houses in houston; messaging the hubby's grown children in florida about their plans for dealing with hurricane irma (no matter where it tracks, they are in the path); speaking with my parents in south carolina (a possible impact point as well); dealing with the sickly cat; coordinating with a local immigrants' protection group to help undocumented workers/residents' children avoid police harassment; sending the weekly round of petitions and emails to representatives about the environment & social justice issues & animal cruelty & the-idiot-in-chief's latest stupidity; penciling in dates for protests in DC...with the news what it is (the rohingya! the madman in north korea and ICBMs! wildfires! floods! etc!), i am really, really happy to pop in here and hear about flowers in vintage teacups and see images like the lovely cottage above, and know that other people in the world are sane and gentle and kind... also, i think that it is of equal importance as activism that we acknowledge and celebrate what and where we are at our best. that which sustains us. our ground and comfort, the beauty that speaks to our souls.

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  4. Gentleness feels good to me. And flowers. Nature I feel reminds us of the balanced place inside. We we reside there then we can sense our right action. Thank you.

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  5. Thank you everyone for your thoughtful comments.

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