Monday, April 5, 2010

Being Gentle is Not Weak

Gentleness is not the opposite of strength. When I was a little girl, my Daddy, with his great big hands that could pinch walnuts open, would pull my loose baby teeth without me ever feeling it.

About eight years ago, when mom had her hip replaced, she was in the hospital, and of course would need personal care. My mom was a large woman, kind of like me. Well, sometimes there would be a male CNA working a shift. Mom had lots of roommates over the years who refused the help of a male CNA. Even though mom was told by nurses (and me), that she'd be in her rights to refuse a male CNA as well, she wouldn't do it. Why not? She was afraid that if all the ladies refused, then the male CNA's would lose their jobs, and that wouldn't be fair. Eventually, she told me that she discovered that the male CNA's were more gentle when they moved her, and that she preferred male CNA's . (She didn't refuse female CNA's though, based on the same principal that made her accept male CNA's) I commented that that sounded odd to me. Aren't women characteristically more gentle than men?

Mom suggested that because men were more sure of their upper body strength they are more gentle when turning and moving a patient, adding a little extra oomph only if necessary, while women not as sure of their own strength would be more likely to use excessive force.

I thought it was an interesting comment. Who looks like the "stronger" disciplinarian? The parent or teacher who gives the kid the evil eye while whispering "enough", or the parent or teacher yelling at a child who is ignoring him? Isn't it implied by the first that there are some back up measures in store (even if there aren't), while the second looks like he is already at wits end?

What about arguing with an adult? Which seems weaker? Getting into a yelling match with them, with no resolution in sight, or announcing "I think we better call it a night. I don't wish to lose my temper.... We had such a lovely time up until now.

How about this description of God's presence?

1 Kings 19: 10-13

10 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."

11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by."
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
12After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

If you continue reading the chapter though, God is not showing any weakness. He is about to forcefully provide for the annihilation of His enemies.

Let us be a gentle people, because we know from where our strength comes!

You can read more about gentleness by clicking here and visiting the One Word Blog Carnival on Bridget Chumbley's blog.


Wendy said...

I liked your post! I'm not even going to say anything sassy about it. :o)

♥ Kathy said...

That was really nice Helen and so true ♥

Glynn said...

You tell a great story here, Helen, and teach a great lesson.

Anonymous said...

Great example of the gentleness that is found in strength. I can just picture the steady, strong, but gentle arm of the CNA.

Jaime said...

I like the idea that gentleness comes from certainty/confidence of strength. Nice post!

Kathleen said...

You are so right. Strength like this has feather touch.

Anonymous said...

Your mom is someone we can all take a lesson from!

This is a great post, Helen. Such a great description of gentleness. I would have thought women were gentler as well, but this makes so much sense.

JC Dude said...

Amen Sister, loved how you tied that all together!


jasonS said...

I finally made it! Great thoughts and a wonderful way to explain it with such clear examples. Thank you Helen.

caryjo said...

Very good... and very true. I agree very much with your mom's understanding.

M.L. Gallagher said...

I love your mother's wisdom -- and the lesson learned.

Very nice.

Sandra Heska King said...

I love the "gentle whisper." I love your mom. I love how you pulled all this together.

Candy said...

I love reading stories about your mama and how you keep her gentle spirit alive. Well done, Helen!