Ten Week Positive Adjective Challenge: Week Three

A friend posted on his blog about the Ten Week Positive Adjective Challenge.

The challenge: Once a week, for 10 weeks, choose one emotionally descriptive word that positively describes my wife.

The intent:

  1. As a man, I broke through the boundaries of emotional simplicity and began to explore emotional complexity.
  2. This challenge forces me to positively define my wife.  By doing this, I have to accept what I positively say to be true.  Thus, it being written in black and white, the things I write become a permanent fixture here and most likely in the minds of the readers – including her.
  3. Growth.  Always growth.

Since things are difficult in the wake of having one’s second child, I decided to take up his gauntlet and make the attempt. Here is week three.

Gentle

That gentleness is a positive trait should be self-evident. I confess, I have not always been given to understand that it is, but The Bible lists it among the fruit of the Spirit and notes that there is no law against it. As with the terms already used, this bears definition.

By gentle, I do not mean powerless or weak. There is a rather pervasive notion that people who are gentle are weak or powerless and only behave the way that they do because they cannot behave any other way. This is untrue. It is those who have power and the ability to do harm but refrain from so doing who are actually gentle. To not do what one is unable to do is no trait at all. If I possess no physical strength and do not wallop others, it is not necessarily for lack of willingness to do so.

By gentle, I mean perfectly capable of causing harm or inflicting damage or simply being callous and refusing so to be or do. My wife is often placed so as to have the ability to do tremendous harm and yet refrains. What is more, she chooses to do as much good as she can even though the people to whom that good is done are seldom deserving of it — myself foremost on the list of those who benefit from her gentleness and deserve it least.

As I noted before, we males are fragile things underneath the veneer. My wife, as the person most intimate with me — the person to whom I expose the most of myself and allow the most back in — is in a position to do me harm rather often. She chooses not to. Instead, she chooses to do me as much good as she is able. I will grant, it is seldom as much good as she would wish, but that desire to do still more good — even in the face of my lack of desert — is why I describe her as gentle.

I could probably go on at length and embarrass my wife (who is a private soul, for which I love her) a great deal, but it is sufficient to commit to writing that she is gentle; that she has the ability to do harm and refrains and chooses instead to do good.

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