Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Tender Slivers

June sunset
Once a month Honore' invites us to check-in with the word we chose at the beginning of the year. This last day in June, the heat and humidity are oppressive.

My thoughts about "tender" are scattered. They nag like a sliver under my skin. Extending tenderness to others encourages me to pay attention to others and myself. As well as I think I might know a friend, I don't know all of the minor slivers under the skin or deeper cares hiding in a heart. They may not care to share all of their story. Of strangers, I know even less. Judgement comes more easily than tenderness. Extending tender thoughts to the driver who pulls out in front of me, the walker with no inclination to yield six feet on the sidewalk, the person with opposing political views is challenging. 

Elizabeth Alexander's poem, Praise Song for the Day.* comes to my mind this morning. See the link for the entire poem. Her prose and poetry are worth reading. This poem begins:

"Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other's
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking."

and then continues with a description of ordinary activities. Later the poem takes a turn in these two stanzas.

"Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take more than
you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance."

*Alexander, Elizabeth. Crave Radiance  Minneapolis, Minn: Graywolf Press, 2010., (p.247-248)

One of tender's origins, "tendere" (Latin) means to extend outward, stretch, spread out, direct one's course. I continue to think about how to stretch into and extend tenderness as we turn the calendar to July.

And "What if the mightiest word is love?"


  1. This is a post to contemplate! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I'm off to look at the rest of that poem and then come back and read this again. Love the origins of your word. (And that is a mighty powerful sunset picture too)

  2. I always enjoy reading and thinking about your well-written words, Jane. Tender slivers seem to get under my skin and challenge me also. And that poem and photo - "praise song for walking forward in that light".

  3. That sunset picture is amazing. I'm guessing that cloud turned into a thunder storm???

  4. Tender slivers... wow. This is brilliant, Jane! And the poem... so powerful. Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. That cloud is gorgeous - I'm glad you caught it!

    And I'm loving your thoughts on tenderness. I have a lot to think about with this one!

  6. You have encouraged so much thought in me with this little post, Jane. I love the idea of the mightiest word being love -- think how much better this world would be if we all extended love to each other.

  7. Loved the poem you shared with us today. I have not heard of her before. These are challenging times and if everyone was tender and thoughtful the world would be so much for the better.

  8. Beautiful, Jane. Yes, LOVE ... I read a lot of devotions and newsletters and many of them (including the one from my church) is focusing on that. The only way we can live, especially in community as we do, is to LOVE each other.