tenderness

Tenderness is an interesting word to me. Affection is part of its definition as is delicate, gentle, sensitive. Once I had a character say, I’ve known love and I’ve known passion, but tenderness is best. There’s someone in our writing group. She comes in quietly. She talks little, but she has distinct presence. She often brings something unexpected. The first time I wrote with the group, afterwards, she gave me a book of poems, and said, Welcome to Taos. Another time she brought cake which she couldn’t eat, but which she wanted to share. She gives thoughtful prompts: am I a man who dreamed he was a butterfly or the butterfly who dreamed he was a man? Several of us wrote off that. As we were listening to others share, she tore a page out of a notebook to give out. It was information about Taos County butterflies. Their names were wonderful: skipper, dustywing, cloudywing. She reads quietly when it’s her turn. Her writing can almost be Zen in its simplicity. Heartbreak has been in her life. Somehow she personifies  tenderness, fragile, worn at the edges by life, but there….

What do you know about tenderness? Why is it so unique? Is it its gentleness in our increasingly noisy world?

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4 responses to “tenderness

  1. Karleen, Those purple roses are a perfect symbol of tenderness. Lovely! story.

  2. Wonderful, lovely touch on compassion and tenderness.

  3. Tenderness, when we can access it after all our heartbreaks and pain, is a powerful demonstration of strength. When we are fragile, IMO, we get hard, tough, defensive in order to protect ourselves. Tenderness is a commitment to remain soft and receptive, even during times of pain, allowing that pain to run through, feeling it, being with it, letting it teach us, and seeing that yes, this, too, is life in all its difficult fullness.

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